A few weeks ahead of the Union Budget 2023-24, Telangana Handlooms and Textiles Minister K.T. Rama Rao urged the Central Government to allot sufficient funds for strengthening the handlooms sector in the State.
While mentioning that the Centre did not extend financial support to the various pioneering initiatives taken up by the State government for weavers in the past eight years, he said that this is the last full budget of the current Central government, which will be followed by a vote on account budget.
KTR said that multiple appeals by the State government to strengthen the sector were not considered favourably by the Centre. Narendra Modi-led Central Government should prove its commitment to the weavers and textiles sector, he said.
Recognising the importance of infrastructure to usher rapid progress of the handlooms sector, the State government is establishing Kakatiya Mega Textiles Park in Warangal, he said. Adding that the biggest textile park in India is attracting investments from national and international companies, KTR said that the Centre has options to extend financial support under various schemes to the park, which is being established with Rs. 1600 Cr.
“At least Rs. 900 Cr should be allotted in the upcoming budget towards infrastructure for the Kakatiya Mega Textile Park and other programmes,” he said. The Handlooms and Textiles Minister appealed that the power loom sector in Sircilla, which has over 25000 power loom machines, be recognised as Mega Powerloom Cluster and allot Rs. 100 crores to it.
Listing the Worker to Owner Scheme and other programmes taken up by the State government, he said that it takes over Rs. 990 crores for strengthening of the value chain, modernisation of power looms in Sircilla, improvement of the market, skill development, capacity building, project monitoring, and appealed that a major share of the funds has to be announced in the budget.
Stating that there are over 40000 handloom weavers in various parts of Telangana, with most of them in Yadadri Bhuvanagiri, Gadwal, Warangal, Rajanna Sircilla, Karimnagar, KTR urged the Centre to grant the Indian Institute of Handloom Technology to the State.
He said that land parcels to establish the institute are available at Gundlapochampally and Yadadri Bhuvanagiri. The Handlooms and Textiles Minister also urged for the National Textiles Research Institute, and Handlooms Exports Promotion Council to be announced in this budget and to grant Block Level Handlooms Clusters under the National Handloom Development Project.
KTR made a special appeal to scrap the GST on handlooms products to save the weavers who are in financial crisis. He also appealed to the Centre to revive the Handlooms, power looms, and Handicrafts Boards which were dissolved by the Union Government, to re-introduce insurance and savings schemes for weavers, and increase yarn subsidy, alike to the State government, to 50%.
Explaining the dire situation of the sector in the country, the Handlooms and Textiles Minister said that India is lagging behind smaller countries like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in the textiles segment as the Central Government did not provide sufficient infrastructure.
He also said that the State government’s policies, incentives and infrastructure in the Mega Textiles Park attracted Kitex Group which was preparing to leave the country. KTR said that the Centre’s ‘Make in India’ will be reduced to a slogan if infrastructure and incentives are not provided.
Narendra Modi Government has failed miserably in attracting international textile companies to our country, KTR said.