The Indian government is striving to make the textile sector the backbone of the country's manufacturing sector, according to Minister for Textiles Shri Shankersinh Vaghela.

Speaking at the two-day Economic Editors' Conference this week, Vaghela said: "The government is making concerted efforts to improve the capacity, productivity and investment climate in the textile sector."

Various policies and procedures have already been streamlined, Vaghela said, and "made more exporter-friendly" to compete in the global market.

"During the last two years, the UPA Government have taken significant measures towards improving domestic taxation system with a view to propel industry growth and value addition within the country, Vaghela pointed out, also signalling the development of infrastructure.

"In this regard, two major schemes - namely 'Apparel Park for Exports Scheme'- for imparting focused thrust on setting up of apparel manufacturing units of international standards at potential growth centres; and 'Textile Centres Infrastructure Development Scheme (TCIDS)'- for modernising infrastructure facilities at major textile centres of the country are in operation," he said.

"...there has been a huge response to the new scheme," Vaghela said, with 26 integrated parks already sanctioned.

"In order to facilitate the industry to induct state-of-the-art technologies, the UPA Government has strengthened and augmented the Technology Upgradation Scheme (TUFS)," he added.

Vaghela said that the handloom and handicraft sectors "represent the cultural heritage of India" and are at the heart of government's policies.

"Integrated cluster development schemes have been introduced in these two sectors under which the artisans and weavers are receiving assistance through various technological, social, infrastructure-related and market-related interventions," he said.

"The Indian textile industry is in a much stronger position now than it was ever before," Vaghela concluded. "The industry, which had been experiencing a rate of growth of 3 to 4% during the last six decades, has suddenly leapfrogged to 9 to 10% growth rate.

"In the end, I would like to reiterate that the textile industry would continue to grow and play a vital role to create more employment, enhance per capita income of the large workforce employed in the textile and allied industries; thereby ensuring egalitarian and efficient allocation of economic resources."