Handlooms and Textiles Minister K.T. Rama Rao on Wednesday urged the Centre to allot sufficient funds in the Budget for strengthening handlooms sector in the State.
He made this appeal even while accusing the Centre of not extending financial support to the various initiatives of the State government for weavers in the past eight years. Noting this will be the last full budget of the current Central government, which will be followed by vote on account, the Minister said multiple appeals by the State to strengthen the sector were not considered favourably by the Centre.
Highlighting the importance of infrastructure for accelerating progress of the handlooms sector, he said the State government is establishing Kakatiya Mega Textiles Park in Warangal with ₹ 1,600 crore. “At least ₹ 900 crore should be allotted in the upcoming budget towards infrastructure for the Kakatiya Mega Textile Park and other programmes,” Mr. Rao said.
Other demands the Minister raised included recognition of powerloom sector in Sircilla, where there are more than 25,000 powerloom machines, as a mega powerloom cluster and budgetary allocation ₹ 100 crore. Listing the ‘Worker to Owner’ scheme and other programmes of Telangana government, he said with over ₹ 990 crore required for strengthening the value chain, modernisation of power looms in Sircilla, improvement of market, skill development, capacity building, project monitoring the Budget should announce a major share of the funds for such initiatives.
Stating there are more than 40,000 handloom weavers in various parts of Telangana, the Minister urged the Centre to grant an Indian Institute of Handloom Technology to the State. Land parcels for the same are available in Gundlapochampally and Yadadri Bhuvanagiri. He also called for setting up of National Textiles Research Institute and Block Level Handlooms Clusters under the National Handloom Development Project.
Mr.Rao also appealed for scrapping GST levy on handlooms products to save the weavers in financial crisis.
He called upon the Centre to revive the Handlooms, Powerlooms and Handicrafts Boards that were dissolved by the Union Government; re-introduce insurance and savings schemes for weavers; and increase yarn subsidy, alike to the State government, to 50%.
The Centre’s ‘Make in India’ emphasis will be reduced to a slogan if not backed by infrastructure and incentives. Prime Minister Narendra Modi led Central government should prove its commitment to the weavers and textiles sector,” he said in a statement.