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Updated: January 23, 2013 22:10 IST

Inter-Ministerial Group to study problems of textile sector

Special Correspondent
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Ajit Kumar Seth
Ajit Kumar Seth

To hold a meeting every three months

The Central Government, on Tuesday, announced that an Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) would soon be set up to take a look at the problems faced by the textiles sector, including high customs duty on synthetic fabric and labour-related issues.

“We will have a continuous dialogue with the textiles industry and like to have an IMG on textiles which will be set up soon,” Cabinet Secretary Ajit Kumar Seth told reporters after inaugurating the three-day India International Garment Fair (IIGF).

Mr. Seth said IMG would take a holistic look at difficulties which had been expressed by the industry, and recommend suggestions to address them.

The group, which is likely to be set up after the Union Budget next month, is likely to hold a meeting every three months to review the sector’s issues and progress.

Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) Chairman A. Sakthivel said the Cabinet Secretary chaired a consultative meeting with the exporters and listened to the demands related to higher import duty on synthetic fabrics, other taxes and labour issues.

Exporters have been pressing for import of synthetic/blended fabrics at a lower duty of 5 per cent. At present, the import duty on synthetic fabrics is about 21 per cent.

Besides, the sector has asked for allowing workers to do work beyond 60 hours a week for which they would be given overtime payment.

During April-December this fiscal, apparel exports declined by about 8 per cent to $9 billion as compared to the same period last year due to lower demand from western markets such as the U.S. and Europe.

In the last fiscal, the U.S. and EU accounted for about 70 per cent of the country’s $14 billion garment exports.

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