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A Rs 26 billion (Rs 2,600 crore) special package for the leather and footwear industry is expected to be announced in Chennai on Wednesday, by Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu. Announcing the 33rd edition of India International Leather, which will kick start here tomorrow, Mukhtarul Amin, Chairman of the Fair, said, “Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu will be launching the Rs 26 billion special package for the leather and footwear industry, while inaugurating the Fair tomorrow evening”. The package would generate around 300,000 jobs, Amin claimed. The Council for Leather Exports is working on various programmes to utilise the Rs 26 billion grant given by the Central Government within the stipulated period of three years. The special incentive package will be for human resource development, setting up of mega leather, footwear and accessory clusters, integrated development of the leather sector, leather technology, innovation and environment protection, and promotion of Indian brands abroad. Amin said the industry is now looking at adding new gepgraphies by focusing on US and Russia, two big markets for leather products.
The Council also engaged consultants in the US to promote Indian leather products in that country and arrange meetings with potential buyers.“The Bangladesh leather industry has become a major threat for Indian exporters, owing to cash incentives provided by its government and the availability of cheap labour in that country. Further, leather goods from Bangladesh are not subjected to duty by importing countries,” he added. According to the Council for Leather Exports, the Indian industry is estimated at $17.66 billion and exports accounted for around $5.67 billion during 2016-17. About 475 companies from India and abroad are participating in the leather fair, Amin said.