The Textile Ministry will set up an inter-ministerial committee and allocate it a sum of ₹ 1,000 crore to promote research & development (R&D), technology transfer and training in the sector, Textile Minister Smriti Irani said at a press conference.

The effort is part of the ₹ 2,161.68 crore `Integrated Scheme for Development of Silk Industry’ approved by the Cabinet on Wednesday for three years from 2017-18 to 2019-20.

“We believe that R&D effort shouldn’t stay restricted to the Textile Ministry. That is why for the first time, under the chairmanship of Textile Secretary, an inter-ministerial committee will be set up where, with the help of other ministries, about ₹ 1,000 crore will be made available for R&D, technology transfer and training,” Irani said.

R&D is one of the four components of the scheme. According to the approved plan, R&D projects pertaining to disease resistant silkworm, host plant improvements, productivity enhancing tools and implements for reeling and waving etc. will be done in cooperation with other Ministries such as Science and Technology, Agriculture and Human Resource Development (HRD).

The Minister pointed out that under R&D, a lot of focus would also be on training, transfer of technology and IT initiatives. “For only technology transfer, we plan to train 50,000 people,” the Minister said.

Other components of the scheme include setting up seed organizations and farmers extension centres, coordination and market development for seed, yarn and silk products and having a Quality Certification System in place. A Quality Certification System would require creating a chain of silk testing facilities, farm based & post-cocoon technology up-gradation, and export brand promotion.

The scheme aims to achieve self-sufficiency in silk production by 2022. To achieve this, production of high grade silk in India is expected to reach 20,650 tonne by 2022 from the current level of 11,326 tonne thereby reducing imports to zero.