India’s government should act now to direct banks to restructure loans to the country’s debt-laden textiles industry, according to the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC).

Following a brainstorming session to solicit expert views on the global apparel market, AEPC chairman Dr A Sakthivel has called on India’s Finance Minister to support the textiles industry by directing the Reserve Bank of India to issue guidelines for loan restructuring.

India’s textiles industry currently has estimated debts of INR1.558trn (US$28.2bn), according to Textiles Ministry estimates, of which about INR350bn needs to be restructured.

At the brainstorming session, designed to boost exports of readymade garments from India, members of the AEPC executive committee attended, alongside about 50 exporters.

Dr Sakthivel highlighted the export promotion schemes initiated and extended by the Indian government, telling the session: “The government of India now expects our industry to perform much better. AEPC has accepted the challenge given to it.”

But he admitted that securing market growth would be difficult, given that the euro zone – responsible for 49% of Indian garment exports – had shown a 33% export decline in April/May 2012.