The Union Budget 2008-09 is sadly a missed opportunity for ensuring long term employment and livelihood for the poorer sections and women, which the garment industry could have offered.
Instead of opting for short term relief measures through loan waivers, reviving this industry could have given long term employment opportunities to much larger sections of the society.
However, the budget has not addressed any supply side shortages except for skill development.The enhancements in TUFS and SITP may help the downstream textile industry but the garment industry, which is expected to contribute 50% of the exports in Textile & Clothing (T&C) sector in the 11th plan, has not been provided with any succor.
Zero import duty and excise duty on machines could have encouraged fresh investment as also mordernisation, both critical for improving competitiveness of this sector.
Although concern was expressed at the slackening manufacturing sector growth, specially textile and apparel products, no remedial measures was announced. The Council had been urging for refund of state levies to partly dilute the erosion in realizations, which have been to the tune of 15% in the current year.