2014State of Governance

Urban Development as Engine of Growth

Even though India’s urban population is at a level of 31 per cent, considered low compared to China’s 50 per cent, South Africa’s 61 per cent and Brazil’s 87 per cent, in terms of numbers it has gone up from 17 per cent in 1950 to the present level. The states of Kerala, Goa, Nagaland and Sikkim have for the first time registered decline in their rural population. Growth in urban population during the last decade has been as high as 153 per cent in Sikkim, 93 per cent in Kerala and 76 per cent in Tripura. The three most urbanised states in that order are Goa, Mizoram and Tamil Nadu while the three in the least urbanised category are Assam, Bihar and Himachal Pradesh. There is a total of 7,935 cities and towns in our country today, 3,894 of these being census towns, which has its own wide implications. We have 53 cities with million plus population, 7 each in Uttar Pradesh and Kerala, 6 in Maharashtra, 4 each in Gujarat and MP, to name the top three. According to one report, among the 100 fastest growing cities of the world, as many as 25 are in India. Our urban areas contribute as much as 60 per cent of the country’s GDP, and something like 80 per cent of our tax revenue.

So what is the positive news about our urban areas and cities? About 93 per cent of our urban households use electricity, 81 per cent households have latrine facility within the premises, 68 per cent households avail banking services, 77 per cent have TV, 82 per cent have telephone, 76 per cent have mobile and 35 per cent have two wheelers. Mobile Internet is expected to become primary platform for accessing internet with computer literates in urban areas being about 195 million and internet users crossing a figure of 137 million. But then the complexity of issues urban India is facing is highly challenging. One out of every six households in urban India is in a slum with 25 per cent of urban India living in slums. Five cities namely Visakhapatnam, Jabalpur, Mumbai, Vijayawada and Meerut have more than 40 per cent slum households. The seriousness of the problem becomes clear when the latest census reveals that of the 4,041 statutory towns in the country, as many as 2,543 have reported existence of slums. The top five states with larger slum population are the erstwhile combined Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal. Chandigarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Assam and Kerala figure in the
last five.

We have 53 cities with million plus population, 7 each in Uttar Pradesh and Kerala, 6 in Maharashtra, 4 each in Gujarat and MP, to name the top three. Among the 100 fastest growing cities of the world, as many as 25 are in India.

Water Scarcity

When it comes to water, about 71 per cent of urban households have source of water within the premises whereas 8 per cent have to fetch it from more than one hundred meters away. No state seems to have taken any big initiative to ensure equitable access to water for all within the city or even for 24×7 water supply. The Maharashtra Sujal Nirmal Abhiyaan, which means an integrated approach to meet the challenges of water supply, is one long-term programme which continues to address this issue as a whole. Malkapur in Maharashtra is probably the first town to provide 24×7 water supply.

Nagpur‘s agenda is to provide 24×7 water supply all over the city continues after completing a pilot project. Karnataka has not been able to achieve much success in translating its pilot success of such supply in Hubli-Dharwar-Belgaum in all the cities of the state. The Government of Gujarat has said on record that it has put in place long-term plans to provide drinking water to all areas covered by the 159 municipalities of the state, over and above the 8 municipal corporations. A provision of Rs 2,500 crore has been made for regular supply of 140 lpcd of drinking water to all 159 towns. Since the state government has a vision about delivering drinking water to all as per norms, it is hopeful that by 2014 it will be able to cross the significant milestone of providing 140 lpcd of water to all urban bodies. Commitment to provide access to an assured quality of potable water to all the urban residents and to ensure equitable access to all for announced hours of supply still remains a neglected agenda item for most of the state governments.

The Government of Gujarat has said on record that it has put in place long-term plans to provide drinking water to all areas covered by the 159 municipalities of the state, over and above the 8 municipal corporations.

Considering the importance of the whole complexities of the urban water agenda such as access to all, reducing wastage, taking up recycling, better managing the water utilities, improving service delivery etc., it is time the centre decided to take up a mission on improved water management as part of the newly proposed 500 habitations programme so that not only water supply systems improve but they are placed on a solid platform.

Waste Management

Another key area of urban neglect is sanitation, waste management and sewage coverage. A report states that currently, of the estimated 62 million tonnes of municipal solid waste generated annually by the urban residents, more than 80 per cent is disposed of indiscriminately at dump yards in an unhygienic manner by the urban bodies leading to problems of health and environmental degradation. The PPP initiatives of attempting to handle waste better taken under the Urban mission are reported to have met with complications in states like UP.

Reports like the Hyderabad municipal commissioner asking the sanitation staff to clear up the garbage piled up leading to a stink in the city for a month, Pune’s solid waste management project which had exclusive claims of incorporating more than two thousand rag pickers in the management arrangement, having to face problems, a stinking issue that has affected the state capital of Kerala for about three years slowly melting away political differences with an all party meeting held to arrive at a consensus regarding waste management, state capital turning into garbage city because of waste getting accumulated and the disposal system getting thrown out of gear due to consistent rains, point towards something terribly lacking as far as handling this fundamental issue is concerned.

When it comes to water, still only 71 per cent of urban households have source of water within the premises whereas 8 per cent have to fetch it from more than one hundred meters away.

Gone are the days when this subject could be just left to the local bodies only. The state governments need to come in proactively because there are issues of aggregation of waste, technology of disposal, funding for common disposal plants, locating landfill sites on which the state governments need to take common initiatives and carry the local bodies along in aiming at zero waste cities. Ahmedabad is one such city, which has a road map for a zero waste city by the year 2031. Very few Indian cities have adequate sewage treatment facilities. As a consequence untreated sewage gets disposed off in the rivers and open areas. One has not come across any state, which has a solid plan to handle this issue in a time-bound and steady manner. It is time for the centre to have a sub mission on solid waste management as part of the newly proposed 500 habitations programme so that the agenda of garbage free cities and keeping cities clean on a regular basis gets attention and permanent results are ensured.

Open defecation free cities is a key target to be aimed at and achieved by all our cities and this has been appropriately reinforced by the present government’s mission goal of achieving toilets for all by 2019. The National Urban Sanitation policy of 2008 had envisaged developing state sanitation strategies and preparing city sanitation plans as two essential starting points for all states. If states had taken up this agenda seriously, they would have been in a better position to seriously start implementation of the agenda in line with the prioritisation accorded by the present government. Madhya Pradesh stands out as an exception in that they launched the Mukhyamantri Shahari Swachhata Mission in 2012 with the objective of covering all the urban bodies of the state over a period of five years in a phased manner. During 2011-12 the state is reported to have got constructed 178 community toilets in 52 cities and 14,281 toilets in 13 cities/towns. 4 cities are considered to have attained the status of open defecation free. Ten more towns are to be so covered by 2014. Allocation of `459 crores has been provided for this programme for the five year period, 2012 to 2017.

Urban Strategy

Problems that our cities and towns face are many. No state has come out with a clearly formulated and stated urban strategy so far. This becomes important in the context of the huge requirement of resources and need to attract private partnership and investments to ensure better living standards for the urban residents. Three states had taken some initiatives in this regard such as Kerala preparing a state urbanisation report, Karnataka moving in the direction of having a stated urban policy but that was during the regime of the previous state government and Rajasthan forming a committee to give shape to such a strategy. Nothing much has been heard further from these states. It is important that the central government should consider seriously the setting up of a second national urbanisation commission so that strategies for various segments of urban development can be worked out and suggested for the states to take up. This will go well with the various new initiatives the centre is now proposing and is desirable from the point of view of proper and organised development of our cities, our engines of growth.

In the absence of state wise detailed statements of urban initiatives and performance results on a regular periodic basis, the only measure of where the states stand seems to be the implementation of the Jnnurm, a seven year mission subsequently extended for two more years upto March 2014. Since the essence of the mission is based on implementation of reforms by the states and the urban bodies on the one hand and taking up of projects approved on the other, a good measure of the states’ urban development efforts would be to assess where they stand with regard to these two pillars. As at the end of March 2014, a total of 538 projects at an estimated cost ofRs 602.01 billion were sanctioned under the infrastructure component for the 65 mission cities entailing an additional central assistance of Rs 276.55 billion from the central government. 227 projects are complete and the rest are still under implementation. Gujarat has completed 52 out of 85 projects, Maharashtra has done 42 out of 92, Karnataka has done 26 out of 56, Andhra Pradesh has done 25 out of 54 and Tamil Nadu has completed 23 out of 66. Assam, Bihar, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand and Kerala have not been able to complete any project. Among the north eastern states, Arunachal, Nagaland and Sikkim could complete one or two projects against the small number of total projects since allocation is in proportion to the urban population.

As far as the small towns programme of infrastructure development is concerned, 801 projects with total cost of Rs 138.66 billion were approved with central assistance of Rs 111.97 billion for 668 such towns. Another 347 projects were approved during the transition phase at a total cost of Rs 129.50 billion with assured central assistance of Rs104.19 billion. Against the 801 projects, 452 have been completed with states like Tamil Nadu taking the lead in completion. Thus, the states have a huge challenge before them in term of speedily completing the already approved projects, which are spread out and which need substantial funding from the state governments as well as effective monitoring constantly addressing the issue of weak capacity of the smaller urban bodies.

As far as reforms implementation is concerned, 13 states are reported to have achieved 85 per cent and above progress. Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh would fall in this category. Least progress, that is less than 50 per cent implementation was recorded in states like Manipur, Nagaland and Sikkim.

City Comparision

There were various other new initiatives triggered by the mission. Service level benchmarking is a concept which would have enabled the states and the cities to take stock as to where they stand with regard to services to the residents in terms of water supply improvements, solid waste management, drainage and sewerage systems, city transport and use of information technology. Such a consistent exercise would, on the one hand, enable the cities to plan for continuous improvements and on the other, the citizens will get direct feedback as to what the service levels are and what improvements are planned.

No state seems to have taken up this agenda seriously and in the process service delivery, which should be at the core of governance at the local body level, is not improving substantially. Credit rating of cities was another action initiated. Have the cities brought about improvements in their rating or focussed on maintaining the high rating is a subject which seems to have got left behind. Nothing much has been heard from states about further empowering the third level of governance. Similarly the most critical agenda of capacity building at the local bodies level has not received the attention it merited from the states. The exceptions are: combined Andhra Pradesh, which sanctioned a revised administrative structure for the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, decided to implement a comprehensive capacity building plan for the state and revised staffing norms for the other urban local bodies. A study shows that states like Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, which have implemented municipal cadres since long, have been acknowledged as states doing progressively on urban development.

Role of State Government

Credit for some of the stand alone urban initiatives would naturally go to the states concerned. Cities like Surat and Rajkot in Gujarat have implemented e-governance for improved service delivery, Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu has built approval and grievance management through the electronic system, Nagpur has done digital inclusion and municipal e-governance, Bhopal has brought in a municipal administration system online, Indore now has automated building plan approval system.

Open defecation free cities is a key target to be aimed at and achieved by all our cities and this has been appropriately reinforced by the present government’s mission goal of achieving toilets for all by 2019.

Some of the major projects particularly in the area of urban transport continue to be heavily dependent on central funding and support. The metro rail system remained confined to the city of Kolkata for years. But when Delhi got central support through a 50:50 JV between the centre and the Delhi government, it has really taken off. Now Bangalore in Karnataka, Chennai in Tamil Nadu, Hyderabad in the earlier Andhra Pradesh and now located in Telangana, Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur in Maharashtra, Jaipur in Rajasthan, Kochi in Kerala, Lucknow in UP and Ahmedabad in Gujarat (though not yet sanctioned by the centre) have metro systems under implementation. Of course, there has been initial action in states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala to have mono rail system. Ahmedabad has proceeded consistently by first opting for a bus rapid transit system and then setting in motion action for a heavy metro. Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh has just outlined his vision of having metro system in Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada
and Tirupati.

The trend continues. The southern and western states have better capacity and the inclination to change the face of our cities. States like Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu continue to maintain the lead and commitment to bring about changes in the urban areas. Since states across the country do not still have a system whereby details regarding work done in urban areas and improvements brought about are documented on a regular basis and in the absence of comparable data, we can only go by what is visible and what is stated in terms of policies and programmes by the states.

Smart Cities

The urban agenda is set to expand and more action is expected with the centre announcing a series of schemes for India’s cities and towns. These include one hundred smart cities, smart cities linked to transport connectivity along industrial corridors, three new smart cities in the Chennai-Bangalore Industrial corridor, every household to be covered by total sanitation by 2019, at least five hundred urban habitations to be supported for infrastructural improvements, enhanced pooled municipal debt obligation facility, support for more urban metro projects, housing for all by 2022, national heritage city development plan, ‘Namami Gange’ which should benefit all towns along the river, development of ghats and river front and support to make Delhi a world class city. Here is yet another huge opportunity for states to augment their capacities, prepare for timely implementation of projects, be proactive with facilitative policy support and measures to bring in private participation, wherever possible and feasible and thereby improve the face of our cities and towns, ensure landmark achievements in service delivery and citizen satisfaction.

M Ramachandran

Dr M. Ramachandran, an IAS officer of the 1972 batch, served State and Central Government in India for thirty-eight years before retiring in 2010. Born and brought up in Kerala, he served in various positions including that of the District Magistrate and Collector, Rae Bareli. He rose to be the Chief Secretary of Uttarakhand and was Secretary in the Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India, for close to four years. Post retirement, he continues to be active in the urban sector and governance areas. He is associated with various national level endeavors in the capacity of Chairperson of the Indian Heritage Cities Network Foundation, Chairman of the National Urban Transport Awards Committee, Chancellor of a University and Senior Advisor to the Green Buildings Council. Dr Ramachandran has a Master’s degree in Economics, MPhil in Economic Planning and PhD on Project Planning. His published works are Uttarchal: ideas that worked, Urban Renewal, Building from the Bottom: Infrastructure and Poverty Alleviation, Delhi Metro Stations and Surroundings, Metro Rail Projects in India, India’s Urban Confusion, Reforming Urban Transport in India: Issues and Best Practices and Mavericks of Mussoorie.
2014State of Governance

Textiles Sector Nurturing Social and Economic Inclusion

The Prime Minister’s clarion call to make the Indian textiles the biggest employer in the manufacturing sector and the second largest employer in the country after agriculture is all set to streamline the prospects of social and economic inclusion.

As of now, the textiles sector provides direct employment to more than 45 million Indians, and indirect employment to some 110 million. The new textile policy under consideration of the Ministry of Textiles aims to grow export at 20 per cent over the next decade from the current level of $40 billion to $300 billion by 2024-25 and lead to creation of an additional 35 million jobs by attracting investment of above $120 billion in the sector. The sector is thus envisaged to reach a size of $650 billion by 2024-25 from the present size of above $140 billion.

With China gradually moving out of manufacturing in the textiles sector due to rising wage cost, the target though appears difficult, but is achievable. In the changing circumstances, India will be gaining out of China and Japan’s investment friendly eyes towards India. Hence, this sector will be in lime light in the times to come. India is already preparing for an imminent investment boom with the launch of the Integrated Skill Development Scheme (ISDS) as a full fledged scheme of the Ministry of Textiles with an investment of ` 19 billion to train 1.5 billion textile workers during the 12th Plan.

With the creation of a Ministry for Skill Development, the skilling initiative is poised for further exponential growth, which will give synergy and create large number of employments in the labour intensive manufacturing sector.

What does this mean for inclusion? The implications could be wide ranging given the vast spread of the textile sector, which range from fibre to fashion and encompasses the handloom, handicrafts, powerloom and mill sector as well as sericulture, wool, manmade fibre and jute products. Each kind of fibre has its own vertical chain and stakeholders, related to raw material production, processing, spinning, reeling and winding, weaving, dyeing and processing, value addition and embellishment, garmenting, retailing and export. The design and innovation, cuts across all the sectors, is adding the unique ethnicity and diversity that defines “Brand India”, linked as it is with the cultural identity of regions and people, which get woven beautifully into this fabric of social and economic inclusion.

Clearly the textiles sector is opening up a sea of opportunities across the country and for a people with different skill set and backgrounds. The current skill gap ranges from operative level to supervisory, middle and senior management levels but in the skill pyramid, the demand is at 85 per cent for basic technical skills, which can be acquired with focused short term modular interventions for upto High School level competency. This means there are tremendous employment opportunities available for rural youth with secondary level qualification.

The highest demand is for garmenting in the apparel sector which requires sewing mechanists, designers, garment technologists familiar with computer aided design, cutters and tailors. Technical skills essential for quality control is include testing, quality management and compliances. Also important is managerial and communication skills for merchandising and supply management. The glamorous world of fashion also beckons the young, brand conscious, new generation and another world of opportunities booms with jobs in textile retailing as the $100 billion textiles industry growing at a CAGR of 12 per cent in 2013-14 and gearing up to further grow to a size of $350 billion by 2025. The sector is thus poised to script an all inclusive growth story.

The need of the hour is to consolidate and scale up skilling initiatives in partnership with the industry, along with a credible mechanism for skill assessment and certification. Given the high demands of skilled workers in the textiles sector and the high attrition rates, the productivity and competitiveness of the sector is thus adversely impacted. The private sector is therefore more than willing to lend a helping hand to the government to expand the training initiative. Initiatives taken up under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by corporates have proved to be a huge success and are shining examples of inclusive growth.

Further, the government rules for engagement with the private sector need to be simplified to channelise the potential energy and to incentivise training by the private sector – by exempting it from service tax and linking it to setting up productive enterprises such as garmenting units in the rural areas. Enabling training under MGNREGA for a specified period for new units in rural areas would improve the viability of such units and open up employment avenues especially for women, whose numbers are reportedly decreasing under MGNREGA.

With the creation of a Ministry for Skill Development, the skilling initiative is poised for further exponential growth, which will give synergy and create large number of employments in the labour intensive manufacturing sector.

In fact, the textiles sector plays a major role in bridging the gender gap. More than one-third of the manufacturing labour force in developing countries overall and upto half in Asian countries are women. In India about 50.4 per cent of the work force in the apparel sector is women. It is also noteworthy that 80 per cent of the weavers out of the 23 lakh of their population in the country are women – and in many of the states in the North East, weaving is the exclusive domain of the women whereas the involvement of women in various sericulture activities is upto 54 per cent.

As the textiles sector grows, it also becomes an important contributor to women empowerment and the social and economic inclusion of women. Across the country there are innumerable stories of women from deprived backgrounds who have become successful entrepreneurs and won respect in society and in their families through weaving, garmenting embroidery and other such skills. They have also motivated other groups of women to achieve social and economic inclusion through highly successful SHGs.

In a predominantly agriculture based country like India, where 30 per cent of the rural population still lives below the poverty line, activities which lead to diversification of farm enterprises and generation of additional income promote social and financial inclusion. In addition to handloom (43 lakh weavers), powerloom (55 lakh weavers) and handicrafts (68 lakh artisans) – sericulture, which provides livelihood opportunities to some 78 lakh Indians, is a success story that has led to sustainable income and inclusion of tribal communities through judicious exploitation of forest based Tussar plantations for rearing Tussar silk worms.

Under the “Catalytic Development Programme (CDP)”, the farmers in general are also getting benefited in sericulture clusters, where they are federated into community based associations with significant participation of women. Chawki rearing centres, Seri polyclinics and Kisan Nurseries are being encouraged through peoples’ participation.

These activities have been identified as people based activities run through federations of farmers, specially women self help groups. The focused approach of the CDP has been not merely of “adding” on women to various processes in the silk value chain but also of reshaping these processes to create space for women’s involvement in shaping and implementing the developmental agenda.

Another initiative of the Textiles Ministry towards inclusion is the pilot scheme for workers’ housing , and for helping women from backward areas to join the productive work force and reduce attrition in the industry. Under this scheme, the workers’ accommodation comprising of dormitories for a minimum of 250 workers and maximum 1000 persons with built up area of 125 sq.ft/capita, including common facilities – kitchen, dining & recreation space etc. will be encouraged. Ministry of Textiles will provide a grant limited to 50 per cent of the project cost subject to a ceiling of Rs 3 crore per hostel, excluding land cost. Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) set up under SITP Scheme and SPVs promoted under other schemes of Ministry of Textiles would be eligible for availing assistance under this scheme.

Another pioneering effort of the Ministry of Textiles is a scheme for setting up training-cum-incubation centres in apparel manufacturing, wherein for every Rs 1 lakh invested in the industry, an average of 7 additional jobs will be created. The scheme has been envisaged to help the first generation· entrepreneurs and startups to overcome the constraints of lack of capital investment for land and buildings etc and fast track the setting up of garment units to capitalise on the current growth potential of the apparel sector.

The main objective of the scheme is to create on integrated workplace and linkages based on an ecosystem for startups that is operationally and financially viable, and increases their success potential and decreases the time and costs required to establish and grow the new businesses. Plug and play factory building with built up area of 15,000 sq.ft. and 100 machines per incubatee will be provided for a period of 3 years alongwith training support of 200 workers per incubatee and assistance for design services and participation in domestic and international fairs. The total assistance per incubatee in addition to provision of plug and play factory building and machines would be Rs 31 lakh.

Even with the high entrepreneural zeal and skilled manpower, one of the biggest challenges facing the sector continues to be ‘finance’, even though the Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (TUFS) introduced in 1999 has been hugely successful in galvanising investment in the mills. The scheme has led to investment of 2.5 Lakh crores in the sector by provinding a subsidy of just Rs 18,000 crores, since its inception. This has led to substantial addition of yarn production, thus improving the overall strength and competitiveness of the textile sector.

Given that 61 per cent of the fabric production of the country is produced in the powerloom sectors, 23 per cent in knitwear and about 11 per cent in the handloom sector, whereas nearly the entire handicraft production is in the small scale sector. Hence, it is imperative to address the financial needs of the small businesses on priority basis to ensure balanced growth of the textile sector and achieve financial inclusion of all sections in the value chain.

Though handloom is already included for the priority sector lending, the banks are not inclined to come up with loaning for borrowers in the unorganised sector. The demand of the Ministry of Textiles has been to identify handlooms as a sub-sector within priority sector lending and to ensure adequate credit flow to the handlooms, powerloom and handicrafts sector – through intensive monitoring by banks and department of financial services. This is especially important as the sector is linked to the cultural identity of our nation and it is upto the government and also the corporate sector to fill the gap earlier extended by royal patronage both for financing and consumption of the exquisite handloom and handicrafts creations.

Microfinance has meanwhile helped to fill the gap to an extent. The efforts of Shrujan Trust in Gujarat to revive and document the emoroidery of Kutch are notable success stories worth emulating by corporates across the country. However, the needs of the sector require serious attention of the formal lenders.

Textile sector is opening up a sea of opportunities across the country and for a people with different skill set and backgrounds. The current skill gap ranges from operative level to supervisory, middle and senior management levels.

For the overall growth of the textiles sector that will also lead to the social and financial inclusion of a large section of the population, the Ministry of Textiles has introduced a slew of meaures for promotion of weaving, processing and holistic growth of the sector. Apart from the three flagship schemes viz., Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (TUFS), Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks (SITP) and Integrated Skill Development Scheme (ISDS) with outlays of Rs 12,500 crore, Rs 1,972, and Rs 1,900 crore, respectively in the 12th Plan, a hire – purchase scheme has been included under TUFS on pilot basis to enable small powerloom weavers to upgrade their machinery so as to achieve the goal of “Zero-defect” fabric production. lnsitutional upgradation of powerlooms and a Tex Venture Cpital (TVC) has also been introduces.

An umbrella scheme for promotion and development of textiles in the Northeast with a outlay of Rs 1038 in the 12th Plan is a significant step for inclusion of these far flung areas by enabling the formulation of schemes, having sufficient flexibility to meet with the special requirements of the region. Other new schemes include workers housing, setting up of apparel manufacturing units in SITPs, integrated processing parks, flatted factories, incubation centres and a scheme for promotion of agro textiles in Northeast.

The nomads of the inhospitable Ladakh region who face acute hardship to rear the Pashmina goats, which produce the finest quality of Pashmina wool in the world have not been forgotten in this all inclusive growth initiatives. Presently, under a scheme for Pashmina Wool Development, a single dehairing plant enables value addition by dehairing just 5,000 metric ton of Pashmina wool produced in the region and the balance of the production of 50,000 mt is sold in the raw form to traders mostly from Punjab who process it and export it to Italy and other high fashion locations outside.

A fresh scheme for Pashmina Promotion recently was announced in the interim budget for 2014-15. This would be another dehairing plant with testing facilities and solar powered community sheds those would be helpful to the nomad women in hand-spinning of the wool, through portable mechanised spinning machines. A testing and grading centre will also be established to enable value addition. The entire process of Pashmina production and processing can be of great interest to tourists visiting Zanskar and Pangong Lake (a popular tourist destination after filming of “Three Idiots” movie there). A tourist exposition centre-cum-cafe and souvenir shop based on the Pashmina wool story is therefore on the cards.

Given the tourist fascination for Indian weaves and handicrafts, it is the effort of the Textiles Ministry to promote Textile Tourism in the country under a mandate given by the Prime Minister himself. The Ministries of Textiles, Tourism and Culture put their heads together last July and came up with a blueprint for promotion of Textile Tourism. This would include all citizens and foreign visitors in the textile growth story as it weaves the fabric of social and financial inclusion.

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