Notwithstanding the recent fall in volumes of apparel exports to the US and the European Union, the Centre is confident that the industry will achieve the $18 billion target during the present fiscal.
In the medium term, the government has set an ambitious target of $50 billion dollars by 2015. To achieve this, it has launched major programmes to augment the raw material base, increase design talent and skilled workforce, bring technological advancement and place the onus on value addition rather than exporting fabrics, a top official today said.
Speaking after a business session organised by Apparel Export Promotion Council and attended by over 60 manufacturers, Union Joint Secretary, Ministry of Textiles, V Srinivas said the industry should take advantage of the duty benefit to Japan and EU markets, and focus on market penetration to the existing markets, especially Japan.
The government had placed a special focus on Japanese market as the tax rate had been reduced to zero from 20 per cent after the two countries had signed FTA in 2011.
“We should be looking to corner some of the share of our competitors like China, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Cambodia, and conversion of value-added products. Presently, only 45 per cent of the textiles and cotton export goes in the form of apparel while the balance is exported in fabric form,” he said. Srinivas said the government was committed to strengthen programmes like integrated skill development, improving the fabric quality and enhance the processing capacity. India had exported apparel, both knitted and woven to the tune of $11.6 bn in 2010-11 and during 11-12 the exports touched $13.6 bn. “Increase of one billion dollar in apparel export leads to creation of 1 million jobs. To enable expansion the government had been striving to aggregate the fragmented industry and enhance its production capacity,” he said.
The Brandix India apparel park at Achyutapuram near Visakhapatnam has been made fully operational, while work on the Rajasthan Integrated apparel park at Tapakara in Rajasthan is nearing completion.
The government had also ensured expansion of capacities around the apparel hub of Tirupur in Tamil Nadu as well as in Ludhiana and Kolkata, he added.
Srinivas agreed that there has to be flexibility in labour laws to help the industry so that it can scale up the manufacturing base.