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New proposed Maharashtra textile policy ready not only to revive textile industry but boost economy

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2015-01-21 12:00:00 – Mumbai

The Suresh Halwankar Committee, which had been constituted by the BJP government in November are ready with the new proposed textile policy of Maharashtra to revive the textile industry to boost the state's economy. The committee visited eight states to study their textile policies and met several unions and federations to come up with the suggestions.

A detailed discussion on the proposed policy would be held at Mantralaya on Wednesday and the final draft would then be submitted to the government for cabinet's approval.

One-window approval process, 20-40% subsidy for setting up textile mills, easier pollution norms, reduced power tariff and all facilities nearby to convert "fibre to fashion"– these goodies are the part of the new proposed textile policy of Maharashtra which aims to woo industrialists and entrepreneurs to invest heavily in the sector so that the state can become a textile mega-hub once again.

The draft policy states Amravati must be developed as spinning mega hub, Nagpur as knitting hub, Solapur teri towel hub and Ichalkaranji/Bhiwandi for suiting-shirting mega-textile hub and Ichalkaranji-solapur-Malegaon for process park with every hub having a complete set-up of all kind of related facilities.

The proposed policy emphasises the need for at least three robust, world-class "design-cum- sampling centres" in every textile cluster, with the government offering 75% subsidy for that. It also talks of a 25% subsidy for setting up skill development centres affiliated to all big industries for offering relevant programmes, whose curriculum must be designed with the help of IITs.

Halwankar, an MLA from Ichalkaranji, pointed out that though the state produces huge amount of cotton, farmers are dependent on export as Maharashtra lacks enough spinning mills. State also lacks enough processing units due to stringent pollution norms and hence a significant amount of fabric goes to other states for finishing and Maharashtra loses the business.

The clusters must have all facilities within to reduce the cost, expedite work and increase healthy competition among the small mills.

To make 'fibre to fashion' policy succeed, the committee has also asked the government to project 'Maharashtra beyond Mumbai' on international stage to attract FDI in textile sector.

The proposals aim to benefit all including farmers, youngsters, entrepreneurs and industrialists. Even women self-help group from rural areas can set up their garment industry with Rs25 lakh capital for which state can offer 40% subsidy. With banks offering 70% as loan, they would have to spend only Rs4.5 lakh for the project , said Halwankar, adding that he hopes to make Maharashtra women compete with those from Bangladesh and other countries.

While one may think whether the cash-starved government can offer the subsidies as suggested by the committee, Halwankar claimed that the government could in fact earn Rs4 lakh/day additional revenue apart from generating 5,000 jobs, if their suggestions are accepted.

Considering the industries' demand of allowing women to work in all three shifts as very important for the growth of the sector which faces acute shortage of labour due to lower wages, Halwankar committee has recommended the same. They have visited textile mill in Tamil Nadu where 100% staff is women who work in all shifts. Maharashtra must also amend the policy to allow women if it aims to revive the sector and boost up the economy but need to ensure their safety first before amending the rules.

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