Agartala, March 25 (IANS): The Indian government plans to set up ready-made garment manufacturing units in each of the eight northeastern States which, among other things, would boost local employment, particularly for women.
This is being done to boost the textile industry in and export of ready-made garments from the region, officials here said.
"The Textile Ministry has decided to provide Rs 18 crore for each ready-made garment manufacturing unit called 'Apparel and Garment Unit' (AGU) in the Northeast," a senior official of Tripura's handloom and handicrafts department told IANS.
He said the government-run National Building Constructions Corp would set up the units in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura.
The foundation stones in Nagaland and Manipur were laid recently. Union Minister of State for Textiles Santosh Kumar Gangwar will do that in Tripura on April 6 at Bodhjungnagar, 25 km from here. The official said around 300 women would be engaged in manufacturing garments in each unit.
"The garments would be exported to neighbouring countries. All the units would be run by small entrepreneurs," the official added.
India's northeastern States border China, Myanmar, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal. Some of the States have trade ties with some of these countries, especially Bangladesh and Myanmar.
The Textile Ministry and State governments would observe the functioning of these units but would not play any role in their day-to-day work. A Textile Ministry representative would be associated with the selection of the entrepreneur and the unit's management.
"If these units are successful, similar units will come up in select districts later," the official added.
At the instance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Textile Ministry earlier asked the northeastern States to provide 1.5 acres of land each, preferably near their capital, to set up the garment units.
"It will be a new beginning for the organised textiles sector in Northeast India," Central Textiles Secretary SK Panda had earlier said.
"Once the scheme is implemented, several thousands, mostly women, are likely to get employed," said Panda, who was Chief Secretary of Tripura until July last year.
The units are expected to meet the demand for garments from police and paramilitary forces in every State besides government officials as well as school uniforms.
India's share in the global apparel and garment market is now just 3.7 percent as against Bangladesh's 6.1 percent and Vietnam's 4.3 percent, indicating that New Delhi has the potential to step up output.