The 22nd AEPC Export Awards 2016-17, were held at a glittering ceremony in Hotel Le Meridian recently. The awards recognised the top achievers of the apparel industry across a wide range of KPI’s and rewarded the best performers in total 18 categories.

Present at the award ceremony were Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Smriti Irani, Union Minister of Textiles and Information & Broadcasting, Ajay Tamta, Minister of State for Textiles, Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Aaayog and Chairman AEPC, Ashok Rajani along with the leading garment exporters of the country, AEPC officials and other dignitaries.

The AEPC Export Awards are the most prestigious awards of Indian apparel industry, paying tribute to the success and innovative approaches of Indian apparel export companies. Extending across diverse product categories and including both experienced and start up representation, the awards are a celebration of the contributions exporters have made to the industry and, in turn, the national economy. This year, AEPC recognised the achievers from the apparel industry in total eighteen categories and for the first time, AEPC Export Awards included two new award categories viz. sustainability and good practices.

Speaking on the occasion, Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Commerce and Industry said, “The Commerce Ministry is working on an end to end comprehensive strategy where we are looking to provide industry, new markets through bilateral and multilateral dialogues. To support exports, a plan is underway for creating an umbrella organisation which can address the issues faced by the exporters. We are currently working on reducing the time to markets by removing the bottlenecks prevailing in the logistics.”

Commenting on the issues, Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Aaayog said, “Niti Aayog accords a great importance to the textile and apparel sector because the industry plays a vital role in delivering economic development. The sector is one of the most promising sector. In the proposed India –EU FTA, India may compromise for wine and push for textiles. The import tariff on man-made fibre has been a strategically wrong policy. India needs a fibre neutral GST rates and zero tolerance between payment and refund of taxes.”

Speaking on the occasion, Smriti Irani, Union Minister of Textiles and Information & Broadcasting said, “We are soon going to come out with policy for jute and silk. Our ministry is also working on a policy for the development of skills of the employees engaged in the sector. The Ministry is also looking at ways to value add Indian brands and designs.”

Talking about the awards, Ajay Tamta, Minister of State for Textiles said, “I am very pleased that AEPC is honoring apparel exporters, who have excelled in their export performance for the year 2016-17. Apparel industry is vital sector of the Indian economy. It provides livelihood to a large number of skilled and semiskilled workers in the country especially it gives employment to a large number of women workers. I would to congratulate the award winners and AEPC for their sustained efforts.

Congratulating the award winners Ashok Rajani, Chairman Apparel Export Promotion Council said, “AEPC Export awards are the most prestigious awards in the Indian apparel industry which amply demonstrates the excellence of Indian apparel industry. The Indian textile industry has inherent linkage with agriculture and with the culture and traditions of the country. The industry contributes to 10 per cent of manufacturing production, 2 per cent of India’s GDP and upto 13 per cent of the country’s export earnings. With over 45 mn employed directly, it is one ofthe largest sources of employment generation in the country. The industry has been able to respond positively to the global challenges due to the incorporation of good practices in the manufacturing processes and the awards recognises the best performers of the apparel industry. I would like to congratulate the winners for emerging as the best in their respective categories.” During its interaction with the Minister, the apparel industry has asked the government to look at ways to fill the 5 per cent gap caused by the reduced rate of GST.