Kolkata: Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani on Saturday said the Central government is making it mandatory that jute mills would get the entire payment for government orders only after jute farmers and labourers are paid fully.
“Jute industry has a ready order worth Rs 5,000-5,500 crore every year (in terms of sacking). The government gives such a huge order so that the jute industry stays alive. The huge money is given to the jute industry in terms of order so that the farmers and labourers can get benefit out of it,” she said.
Farmers and labourers often complain that they do not get the benefit which they deserve, she said at an interactive session organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce here.
“The jute industry used to get payments against the order regularly. Why are the farmers and labourers complaining that? Now, we are making it mandatory, that if you do not pay farmers or labourers or abdicate the responsibility, we will not give you the order,” Irani said.
“The Centre has made a special arrangement and another decision will come soon so that the industry would get the entire payment against the order from the government only after farmers and labourers get fully paid,” she said, adding that the industry assured that they would take care of the rights of the jute farmers and labourers.
Jute diversification, according to her, is going to be the future as it will not expand the base of the sector but also provide impetus for the growth. Beside Jute is being used in roads extensively, particularly in north-eastern states as it provides durability.
The Minister said Indian Jute Industries’ Research Association (IJIRA) developed a sanitary napkin based on jute products and other innovative products and the jute industry has to take the responsibility to take these innovations forward by commercial applications.
The Central government is focusing on how to transform small-size firms into mid-size entities, Irani said.
“China prospers because its small firms became mid-size companies… small and medium enterprises account for 80 per cent of the textile industry and a lot of craft-based industry goes unaccounted.
“For the growth to happen exponentially, we are pushing towards ensuring that the small-size firms become mid-size entities. It needs infrastructure push,” she said.
Irani stressed upon innovation in terms of design that the textile industry needs.
In view of objections being raised by the US in the WTO on the incentives offered by India to its exporters even as the country’s per capita GNP has crossed the threshold limit, Irani said, “We have to study the new regime in terms of WTO and there has to be a quantifiable impact analysis. The government is analysing every element of the impact of the WTO regime and post December, we take proactive steps to ensure that industries are supported.”
Addressing the Annual General Meeting at the Merchants’ Chamber of Commerce later in the day, she said the government has increased the import duty on some textile products to protect domestic manufacturing.
According to her, India looks at the trade war between China and the US as an opportunity and not as a challenge.
She said India would be benefited from the trade war not only through policy intervention but also through industry practices.