The reclassification of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and 5 per cent reduction in tax on annual turnover of companies up to Rs. 250 cr will help manufacturing and increase employability in textiles sector, Indian textiles minister Smriti Irani has said. Domestic manufacturers will also benefit from increase in customs duty on silk. In the Budget 2018-19 presented recently by Finance Minister ArunJaitley, customs duty has been raised on silk. This will discourage low-priced Chinese textile products from flooding the Indian market, Irani said at a press conference. Domestic powerloom manufacturers will benefit from increase in customs duty on man-made fibre, she added. Of the Rs. 6,000 cr special package, announced for the garment sector in 2016, Rs. 1,800 cr has already been released and Rs. 300 cr more will be released during the current financial year, the Minister informed.

She also spoke about 100 per cent increase in allocation for skill development in textiles sector. The correction in the GST rates on handmade and machine-made garments has created ease of doing business in these sectors, she said. GST rate has been reduced on yarn from 18 per cent to 12 per cent and GST on job work has been brought down from 18 per cent to 5 per cent.

In addition, support for merchandise scheme has been enhanced from 2 per cent to 5 per cent for the apparel sector. Irani attributed 16 per cent growth in apparel sector to the effective implementation of subsidy schemes. Rs. 138 cr has been disbursed to 28,000 weavers as Mudra loan and 1.8 lakh garment workers have formally joined Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO). The Minister further said that the second round of HastkalaShivirs will be organised in different parts of the country with special focus on North East region from February 19 to 24. She has also written to Members of Parliament to actively participate in these camps in order to encourage weavers.