The government’s ambitious plan to boost the textile sector by tapping investments worth Rs 40,000 crore and creating 11 lakh jobs by 2017 seems set to fall short of its target.
A highly placed source in the textile department said, “Investments in the total textile projects approved by financial institutions and in various phases of enforcement by March 2017 amount to Rs 16,371 crore, with the potential to generate 2.50 lakh jobs.”
According to officials, the original plan had been for five years, between 2012 and 2017. “Inaction on part of the government in the initial years and lack of response from investors are among the factors responsible for the short-fall,” said an official.
To turn the figures around, the government has taken a series of steps, a senior official said. The new textile policy, announced in 2015, makes it mandatory to have textile hubs concentrated in the cotton growing belt of Vidarbha and Marathwada, as opposed to western Maharashtra, to cut down on the cost of transporting raw cotton and other expenses.
According to the state economic survey 2016-17, “There are 16 textile parks functioning with employment of 0.23 lakh. Currently, there are 10.01 lakh power looms in state with 19 lakh employment.”
With 42 per cent of area under cultivation, the government believes that the textile sector has the maximum potential to generate employment. But the lack of infrastructure has lead to only 25 to 30 per cent of the raw cotton being processed in the state. Roping in the private sector is one of the measures the government is using to tackle this.
“The stress on public-private partnership to boost the textile sector with the concept of farm to fashion has worked in the Amravati division of Vidarbha. At Nandgaon Peth (Amravati), the total investments have crossed Rs 9,000 crore, with the involvement of big players such as Raymond,” an official in the department said.
Apart from new textile parks and processing units, efforts to restructure and revive loss-making units are also underway.