Indian handloom exports to the US may be affected due to the withdrawal of GSP. These include home textile products like silk and jute, and specialised products such as wall hangings, banners and national flags. National flags, predominantly manufactured and exported by small and medium enterprises, constitute the largest single exported item at Rs 466 crores.
India has the highest number of handloom units in the world. Handloom fabrics, floor covering and silk products are manufactured by cottage industries in rural India, providing employment to a large number of female workers. This helps alleviate poverty and supports sustainable development of small clusters. In fact the concessional tariff under GSP benefits US consumers as much as it benefits Indian exporters.
The handloom sector is the second largest rural employment provider next to agriculture. A web portal has been launched through which micro, small and medium enterprises can avail of loans up to a crore from Small Industries Development Bank, SBI, Bank of Baroda, PNB, Vijaya Bank and Indian Bank.
The MSME sector accounts for 45 per cent of manufacturing output and about 40 per cent of total exports. India’s new textile policy will focus on a three-pronged approach to boost the growth of the Indian handicraft sector, which is facing tough competition from international players.