The midterm assessment of Maharashtra Textile Policy 2011-17 launched during the previous Congress-NCP regime revealed a grim situation both on revenue and employment fronts. The policy had stipulated generation of 11 lakh jobs and investment worth Rs40,000 crore in five years. The aim was to utilise 45 lakh surplus cotton bales produced in the state.
As many as 967 projects worth Rs9,749 crore were approved in the state, which were to generate employment for 57,000 people â€“ 5 percent of the total target of 11 lakh jobs of which only 112 projects, worth Rs3,300 crore, have been completed till now, creating 27,700 jobs, according to the data obtained from the Maharashtra textile department. This means, only 2.5 percent of jobs and nearly 8.25 percent of the projected investment have come into existence, as the policy crosses the halfway mark.
While the figures highlight skewed response by the investors, the huge mismatch between the projected targets of revenue and employment also indicate the government's flawed approach, when it comes to crucial calculations.
According to a textile expert, it is impossible to create 11 lakh jobs with Rs40,000 crore investment. This could be due to ignorance or an errant approach while correlating investment and employment. Interestingly, half of the jobs in the second-largest sector will be created through smaller projects, worth Rs10 crore or lesser each. Over 840 projects in this category are expected to give jobs to 27,000 people. On the other hand, 18 projects worth Rs100 crore each will generate only 4,846 new jobs.
The statistics also cast aspersions over the functioning of the BJP-Sena government, which is in power for the last one year. According to the sources, the new government has virtually junked the policy.
According to sources, the BJP leaders, however, hope things will improve once the government starts implementing some of the provisions of the new policy, as the existing one can't be abolished. As the Fadnavis government constituted a committee to formulate a new textile policy under BJP MLA from Ichalkaranaji, Suresh Halwankar, within two months of it taking over. The committee submitted its report in January.
Now a fresh policy based on Halwankar committee report will be presented in the winter Assembly.
Textile minister Chandrakant Patil said that they have already announced several measures to boost the textile sector. This includes realigning the policy as 'fibre to fashion' by setting up a mega textile hub in cotton-growing areas of Vidarbha. This will reduce the input cost, boosting investors' confidence. They would be able to compete in the international market.
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