The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) wants import of silk from China to be restricted in order to promote local production and create more jobs.
While KVIC has been pushing for halting silk import, the proposal is likely to find favour from the government in the wake of border clashes with China.
"We had written to the Commerce Ministry on import of silk. We are hopeful that our proposal would be considered positively. We want the import of silk from China to be restricted," KVIC Chairman Vinai Saxena told BusinessToday.in.
He said that silk worth about Rs 700-800 crore is currently imported from China and can be easily substituted with local production.
Sericulture or silk-farming is an agro-based cottage industry with huge employment and income generating potential in rural and semi-urban areas. Silkworm rearing is mainly practiced in rural areas.
Around 12,03,942 farming families and 56,013 reeler families are involved in sericulture related activities across various states.
"The duty on silk is currently 10% but we have proposed to restrict its import. There is no need for this. Around 62 lakh people are currently associated with silk farming. If its import is restricted more people will get jobs," the KVIC chief said.
Basic customs duty of 10% and 20% is levied on raw silk and silk fabric import, respectively, to stabilise domestic silk weaving segment and make Indian silk export sector more competitive.
In order to protect domestic sericulture farmers and silk reelers, anti-dumping duty of $1.85 per kg has been imposed on Mulberry raw silk of 3A Grade and below, originating in or exported from China.
Tasked to promote khadi and cottage industries, especially in rural areas, KVIC sees additional job opportunities in silk related activities. On its part, the Centre has implemented Silk Samagra scheme to scale up silk production.
In the last three years, a fund of Rs 464 crore was allocated under Silk Samagra central scheme.
KVIC hopes to play a major role in government's Atma Nirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) plan by promoting local cottage industries.
With its widespread presence across the country and rising popularity of its products, it is expected to take forward the government's "Vocal for Local" campaign.
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