Mr. Shankersinh Vaghela, Hon’ble Minister of Textiles
of the Government of India, led a high-profile delegation
to Australia from 1-5 July, 2007. The delegation included
the Development Commissioner for Handicrafts and the Chairman
of the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts. The Minister
addressed seminars in Melbourne and Sydney organised by the
Australia India Business Council on “Brand Image Promotion
of Indian Handicrafts & Carpets (including Giftware)”.
The events provided an opportunity to the Hon’ble Minister
and his delegation to interact with Australian buyers, importers
Textiles Minister Mr. Shankersinh Vaghela, Consul General
Mr Sujan Chinoy, Addl. Secretary (Textiles) Mr S.Behuria
and Development Commissioner (Handicrafts) Mr. S.Agarwal.
Standing- President AIBC Mr Monteiro.
In his introductory remarks at the Seminar
in Sydney, the Consul General of India in Sydney, Mr Sujan
Chinoy, welcomed Minister Vaghela and introduced him as one
of India’s senior-most and experienced parliamentarians
who had held important posts both in the Union Government
as well as at the state level as Chief Minister of Gujarat.
The Consul General said that the Indian economy was growing
at over 9% p.a, and the Indian Government was seeking to increase
India’s share in the world textile trade from the current
4 per cent to 8 per cent by 2010 in order to achieve an export
target of US$ 50 billion by 2010 as well as to create 12 million
new jobs in the textile sector. He said the Government was
supporting modernisation and consolidation of the sector to
create a globally competitive textile industry.
In his keynote address, the Minister stressed
the importance of the Indian Textile Industry which accounts
for 4% of India’s GDP employing around 35 million persons
and contribute to17% of the total export earnings. He said
that Handicrafts segment was the flagship of the Textile Sector.
The Handicrafts sector alone contributed US$ 4.3 billion to
exports, providing employment to over 6.5 million artisans
of which 50% were women. India’s handicrafts are being
marketed by all major department and chain stores in the developed
economies of the world. The Minister said that India was aware
of the potential in the Australian market and its growth.
He said that India would welcome support from business, trade
and import houses in Australia to work closely with the handicraft
sector, with a long-term commitment for sustained sourcing
from India. He said that his Ministry had geared itself up
to provide support to such initiatives and assured Australian
importers of the fullest cooperation in this regard.
During his visit to Sydney, the Minister
also met Mr. Ian MacDonald , NSW Minister for Primary Industries,
Energy, Mineral Resources and State Development. He apprised
Mr. Macdonald of the thrust and focus of Government of India’s
economic policies, particularly with regard to exports of
Indian handicrafts, carpets and giftware.