Textiles and garment exporters say it would be possible to hit the $50bn export target set for 2010 under the new textile policy - if the government takes immediate action.

Textiles exporters seek a reduction in infrastructure costs, promotion of rapid modernisation, special incentives for the processing sector, availability of good quality cotton at competitive prices and treatment units exporting 75 per cent of production on par with export-oriented units, the Times of India reported.

"While the target is ambitious, it is not impossible," said Texprocil chairman T Kannan.

The textile industry, one of the most important sectors of the Indian economy, contributes 15 per cent of industrial production and over 30 per cent of exports. With very low import intensity of less than six per cent, it is the highest net foreign exchange earner for the country and also the second largest provider of employment in the country after agriculture.

Ready-made garment exports take first place among the total textile exports.

Garment exports are poised to touch $6.2bn in the current financial year and the textile ministry has set a target of $25bn by 2010.

"Direct tax laws play a crucial role in export promotion activity and section 80 HHC of Income Tax Act has so far acted as an extremely powerful instrument for promoting growth of international trade," said Apparel Export Promotion Council chairman Raju Goenka.

Exporters were entitled to full exemption from tax under this section, however, last year's budget phased out this benefit over a period of five years at the rate of 20 per cent per year.