New Delhi: The new Textile Minister, K S Rao, Wednesday said the government has set an ambitious export target of USD 50 billion this fiscal, hoping realisation of the target will help in containing the high current account deficit.
"CAD is affecting the nation's economy and textiles sector is one sector where we can increase the exports substantially," Rao told reporters after taking charge of the ministry.
"I am given to understand that our textiles exports is about USD 34 billion today, which I wish to make at least USD 50 billion by end of the current fiscal," Rao said.
This will help in containing CAD, he added.
Current account deficit, which is the difference between inflows and outflows of foreign exchange, touched a record high of 6.7 percent of GDP in the December 2012 quarter.
It is likely to be around 5 percent in the 2012-13 fiscal.
Faced with weak demand in global markets like the US and Europe, textiles exporters are making efforts to increase their presence in emerging markets like Latin America, Africa and Japan.
The US and Europe together account for almost 65 percent of the country's textile exports.
For reviving the sector's growth, Rao said, there is a need to encourage skill development.
"When people are skilled, the production will go up, cost of production will come down, the sector will grow which in turn will help it to compete in the international market," he said.
Besides, he said, he would be holding consultations with the industry to find out issues affecting their growth so that their problems could be addressed.
Talking about cotton prices, Rao said: "Cotton grower claims that they do not get remunerative price for their produce. So, I wish to concentrate on how to increase output per acre and ensure that whenever cotton crop is in substantial quantity then farmers should be permitted to export before it goes in the hands of traders."
He also laid emphasis on reducing the role of middlemen in the entire value-chain.
The textiles industry employs about 4.5 crore people.
The 69-year old Rao, a strong advocate of united Andhra and a Lok Sabha member from Eluru constituency of Andhra Pradesh, took over as the Minister for Textiles.
First Published: Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 15:18