The South India Hosiery Manufacturers' Association has called on the government to boost exports from small and medium-sized enterprises by increasing the amount allotted under the Tenth plan for publicity, participation in fairs and the formation of sample markets.

"The government should organise a bigger and better joint participation involving leading garment exporters and small and medium-sized garment exporters for participation in fairs abroad frequently and sample markets should be organised in important centres...to improve exports," the association stated.

In a letter to Indian Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, it pointed out that in other countries, governments were supporting leading textile mills that wanted to improve their image as a fashion country by organising bigger and better joint participation.

It added: "Pakistan is taking a large area in fairs and is promoting garments by way of fashion shows and other publicity means. But India is taking less area and fewer exhibitors, it is only 25 per cent in comparison with Pakistan's exhibitors".

The letter added that if no action was taken in the short term then India would continue to lose out to other countries such as China, Bangladesh and Hong Kong which are receiving more space for key exhibitions.