Indian powerloom sector accounts for 80% of the woven fabric production, 60% of the total fabric production and provides direct jobs to 63 lakh people especially the people below the poverty line, rural masses and women folk. The powerloom sector has around 25.2 lakh looms. This sector predominantly meets the clothing needs of the entire population in the country apart from fetching sizable forex earning directly and indirectly. Hence the competitiveness of the textile industry across the value chain greatly depends upon the performance of the powerloom sector. Therefore, both the Central and State governments have been giving importance for the growth and the sustenance of this sector.
During the last seven years, the powerloom sector has been facing numerous challenges on account of sluggish global and domestic market conditions. Though the capacity has increased by 12% during the last seven years, the fabric production has increased only by 2.4%. The GST Plus agreement entered by Pakistan with EU during 2013-14 had huge impact on the powerloom fabric exports from India due to 9.6% duty advantage given for Pakistan. In addition, the high production cost, labour shortage, transport cost, 5% State VAT, mass closure of dyeing units, exorbitant cost of modern technology machines, high cost of manmade fibre, hank yarn obligation, Handloom Reservation Act, etc., continue to be major challenges faced by the powerloom sector. Though the Central Government has already extended numerous schemes including TUF subsidy, subsidy for conversion of non-automatic looms, semi-automatic looms, yarn bank facility, etc., the powerloom sector continuous to struggle. Against this background, the powerloom sector and The Southern India Mills’ Association (SIMA) have been demanding the Central Government to announce a special scheme for the powerloom sector. Now the unique scheme has been announced through Power Tex India.
In a Press Release issued here today, Mr.M.Senthilkumar, Chairman, SIMA and also the former Chairman of PDEXCIL who has been making concerted efforts for strengthening powerloom sector’s competitiveness during the last three decades, has thanked the Hon’ble Union Textile Minister, Smt Smriti Zubin Irani for considering most of the proposals of the powerloom sector and SIMA and launching Power Tex India Scheme at Bhiwandi, Maharashtra and also in all powerloom centres across the Nation including Erode through Video Conference. He said that the components of the Power Tex India Scheme include In-situ Upgradation of plain powerlooms, group work shed scheme, yarn bank scheme, common facility centre, Pradhan Manthri Credit Scheme for powerloom weavers, Solar Energy Scheme for Powerloom, Facilitation, IT, awareness, market development and publicity / powerloom scheme, Tex Venture Capital Fund and Grant-in-Aid and modernization and Upgradation of powerloom service centre. He has added that other schmes for powerlooms are Amended Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme, Modified Comprehensive Powerloom Cluster Development Scheme, Universal Insurance Coverage Scheme and Integrated Skill Development Scheme. Mr.Senthilkumar immediately after attending the launch function at Erode, which was inaugurated by Smt Pushpa Subrahmanyam, IAS., Additional Secretary, Ministry of Textiles has stated that the Scheme would greatly benefit the powerloom sector to improve its competitiveness in the global market and also enable the sector to supply quality fabrics at a competitive rate to the garmenting and made-up sector. He has stated that the Central Government has been continuously announcing special schemes for garment exports, made-ups exports and now for the powerloom sector. He has highly appreciated the solar power plant scheme for powerlooms by giving 50 to 90% subsidy with the lower cap for the powerlooms connected to the grid and higher benefit for the powerlooms that go off the grid. He has stated that this would give a great relief to the State governments especially Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu that account over 75% of the powerlooms in the country to reduce their power subsidy commitment and also enable the powerloom sector to be self-reliant.
Mr.Senthilkumar has stated that the benefits under Mudra Yarn Banking Scheme shall provide interest free corpus fund of maximum Rs.200 lakhs per Yarn Bank. He has also appreciated the Pradhan Manthri Credit Scheme for powerloom weavers that provide 20% margin money with a ceiling of Rs.1.00 lakh, interest subvention at the rate of 6% both for working capital and term loan upto Rs.10 lakhs for a maximum period of five years. He has further appreciated the assistance given for women entrepreneurs under Stand Up India Scheme by providing 25% margin money subsidy with a ceiling of Rs.25.00 lakhs. He has also appreciated the Texventure Capital Fund Scheme where financial assistance is provided up to Rs.3.00 crores invested under SIDBI Venture Capital Fund Scheme. He has thanked the Government for enhancing the benefit for conversion of non-automatic looms to semi-automatic looms, shuttleless looms, increasing the subsidy for group work shed scheme etc. He has stated that announcement of Rs.2 crore subsidy for developing common infrastructure facilities such as dormitory, training, processing, etc., would enable the powerloom clusters to produce value added products.
Mr.Senthilkumar has appealed to all the powerloom weavers to fully utilize the various benefits announced under Power Tex India Scheme and meet the fabric demands of the downstream sectors and remain globally competitive.