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Excessive controls hampered textile industry growth: PM

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The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, being welcomed by the Minister for Textiles, Mr Shankersinh Vaghela, at the India Expo Centre & Mart at Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh on Friday. Ramesh Sharma
The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, being welcomed by the Minister for Textiles, Mr Shankersinh Vaghela, at the India Expo Centre & Mart at Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh on Friday. Ramesh Sharma

Our Bureau

New Delhi, Jan. 6

THE Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, on Friday admitted that stringent domestic regulations and excessive controls have hampered the growth of the Indian textile industry, despite the vast opportunities thrown up by the freeing of global textile trade last year.

Dr Singh said his Government was committed to work "hand-in-hand" with the industry to realise the potential of the textile and handicraft sectors.

"We have a chance to retrieve lost ground, but we need sensible policies if we are to succeed in doing that. I commit our Government to work hand-in-hand with our industry to realise its vast, latent potential," Dr Singh said while inaugurating the Rs 400-crore India Exposition Centre and Mart at Greater Noida today.

The Prime Minister, however, did not make any specific reference to the textile sectors long-pending demand for relaxing stringent labour laws.

"Our rigid domestic laws, complex rules, regulations and excessive controls inhibited the growth of an internationally competitive industry... We were, therefore, overtaken in the world market by other textile exporting economies of Asia. In 1948, India was the largest exporter of textiles this side of the Suez Canal," he said.

He said the Indian textile industry was capable of regaining its position as one of the world's most creative and competitive industries.

He, however, said both the Government and the business community needed to work together to protect the intellectual property of weavers, artisans and designers, besides evolving strategies to safeguard against piracy.

Warning against the growing threat from those seeking to imitate Indian designs and methods, Dr Singh advocated the need for evolving effective strategies to guard against piracy. "In this age of environment sensitivity and mass manufacture, a high premium is being placed on handicraft products. The wares produced by our artisans are seen as unique, exclusive and environment-friendly. This is an edge that we must actively utilise," Dr Singh said.

The Prime Minister lauded the timely completion of the expo centre and mart. "I am happy to learn that this project has been completed, like Phase One of the Delhi Metro, within the specified target date.

This is a new trend we are setting in our country where time and cost overruns had become a tragic joke," he said.

He said that the opening of the mart should help in the rejuvenation of the textile, garments, handloom and handicrafts industry and hoped that the new expo centre would emerge as an exhibition centre for other Indian manufacturers as well.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 7, 2006)
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