IMG on textiles sector to be set up soon: Cabinet Secretary
New Delhi: An Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) on textiles sector will soon be set up to look into industry's problems like high customs duty on synthetic fabric and labour issues, Cabinet Secretary Ajit Kumar Seth said on Tuesday.
"We will have a continuous dialogue with the textiles industry and would like to have an inter-ministerial group on this (textiles) which will be set up soon," he said here.
He was speaking to reporters after inaugurating the three-day long India International Garment Fair (IIGF) which is showcasing apparel, accessories, home furnishings, jute, woolen items and handicraft.
The IMG would take a holistic look at difficulties which have been expressed by the industry and would recommend suggestions to address these issues, Seth said.
The group, which is likely to be set up after the Union Budget next month, would meet every three months to review the sector's issues and progress, a Textiles Ministry official said.
Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) Chairman A Sakthivel said the Cabinet Secretary chaired a consultative meeting with the exporters and listened to the demands related to higher import duty on synthetic fabrics, other taxes and labour issues.
The AEPC chief said: "The Cabinet Secretary is expected to head the group. Officials from concerned ministries like finance, commerce, labour, customs representatives and related export promotion councils would also be members of the IMG."
The exporters are pressing for import of synthetic/blended fabrics at a lower duty of 5 percent. At present, the import duty on synthetic fabrics is about 21 percent.
"Most of the synthetic fabric is not available in India so mostly cotton garment is manufactured which we cater for summer. But for doing round the year business, we want fabric which is mostly synthetic," Sakthivel said.
Besides, the sector has asked for allowing workers to do duty beyond 60 hours a week for which they would be given overtime payment.
During April-December this fiscal, apparel exports declined about 8 percent to USD 9 billion compared to the same period last year due to lower demand from western markets like the US and Europe.
In the last fiscal, the US and EU accounted for about 70 percent of the country's USD 14 billion garment exports.