To boost domestic silk production, Assocham has urged the government to extend anti-dumping duty on raw silk imports from China, which have grown by 7 per cent during the last 12 years, till December 2015.
The Government had imposed antidumping duty on imports of Mulberry Raw Silk of 2A grade and below from China in January 2003, which remained in force until January 2008 and was subsequently extended till January 2014 after a sunset review.
“Silk import restrictions have two facets; one is concern of sericulture farmers opposing cheap Chinese raw silk imports threatening their livelihood, while the other issue is of the weaving community which requires raw silk to meet the rising demand,” Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat said.
“There is a need to strike a balance between these two warring sections by periodically reviewing the import policy for raw silk, taking into account balanced interests of both sericulturists and export manufacturers,” he emphasised.
India’s silk industry provides jobs to over 7.6 million people across 51,000 villages operating over 3.28 lakh handlooms and over 45,800 powerlooms with over 8.14 lakh weavers, an Assocham study found.
“Clocking a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of about eight per cent, India’s total silk imports rose from $ 124 million in 2000-01 to about $ 312 million in 2012-13, with raw silk alone comprising about 73 per cent of these imports worth over $ 227 million,” it pointed out.
China is biggest exporter of raw silk to India accounting for almost 99 per cent of exported raw silk worth $ 224.5 million as of 2012-13. Raw silk imports from China grew at a compounded annual growth rate of 7 over per cent during 2000-01 and 2012-13.
To boost domestic silk production, Assocham has suggested that state governments promote tie-up of weaver cluster with raw silk production units for establishing close linkage between forward and backward sub-systems.
Besides, the state governments should also facilitate establishment of weaver centers to empower and enlighten the producers with latest information on research and development, technological advances and new designs related to weaving techniques.