The Central Silk Board looks at increasing annual silk production to 32,000 tonnes by the end of the XII Plan period.

Member Secretary of the board Ishita Roy and Chief Executive of Silk Mark Organisation of India K. S. Menon told presspersons here on Tuesday that annual production now was about 21,000 tonnes as against the demand of nearly 30,000 tonnes. Production was growing at 6 per cent annually, and demand was increasing at about 10 per cent. Nearly 7,500 tonnes of silk and 4,000 tonnes of silk fabric was imported from China every year.

India was the largest consumer of silk. The silk sector had four lakh handlooms and one lakh powerlooms and provided employment to nearly 70 lakh people. The annual silk trade was Rs.7,000-10,000 crore. There were six automatic reeling units and another 10 were expected to come up during the next five years. The project cost of each unit was Rs.2.50 crore. Of this, the board would provide Rs.50 lakh subsidy to each.

The Union Government launched the Silk Mark scheme in 2004 and the tag assured customers that the product was made of 100 per cent pure silk. The Silk Mark Organisation had 1,700 members, including manufacturers, exporters, importers and traders. It had sold 1.2 crore Silk Mark labels. About 300 new members were enrolled every year, they said.