In a belated move, the Gujarat government on Wednesday announced a new textile policy in order to attract cotton textile entrepreneurs to Gujarat. Once considered Manchester of India, Gujarat today accounts for 7 per cent of cotton textile manufacturing capacity of the country, though it produces 35 per cent of raw cotton. "About 90 per cent of raw cotton produced in the state goes out of the state," said state industries minister Saurabh Patel.
Blaming the Centre for 'lack of any consistency' in textile policy, the minister said, "Gujarat's textile policy will protect the state's farmers from the Centre's anti-farmer and anti-cotton-export policy, as a result of which the farmers fail to get the required price." He said that the farmers will be allowed to continue exporting their produce, like before, to get a better price.
The state government also plans to have dozen-odd cotton textile clusters around cotton-growing areas, especially in Ahmedabad and Surendranagar districts. According to an official calculation, the total subsidy as a result of the new policy will be to the tune of Rs 2,700 crore.
"We will provide interest subsidy for value-addition chain from ginning to spinning, weaving, processing, garment manufacturing and technology upgrades," Patel said. "Power tariff concession will be given for new cotton spinning and weaving units and financial assistance will be extended to skill-development centres." The minister added, "The new textile policy will also increase the state's revenue and growth rate and give impetus to the textile industry." It will create fresh employment opportunities for over 25 lakh people in the next five years, he said. But he evaded questions on why the state government failed to attract investment in the textile sector over the past ten years. "It is not necessary for me to answer all the questions," he said.