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Skill development key to SME, cottage industry growth: Rao

Textiles Minister K.S. Rao Wednesday said that skill development is needed to establish linkages between the rural job scheme and production in the cottage and small industry sector.

The federal minister, who was in Jaipur for a meeting with exporters from Rajasthan to discuss strategies for promoting export of handicrafts, textiles and other products of the cottage sector, said he would soon take up the issue of skill development with the cabinet. 

Rao termed as genuine the exporters' demand for raising the interest subvention for handicrafts and cottage sector from the existing 2 percent to 5 percent. 

"I feel that the cost of funds is high. It needs to be reasonable so that people could invest more in their business," he said.

Rao said he was likely to hold a meeting with the finance ministry and discuss issues related to service tax on participation in overseas fairs and exhibitions by exporters and also on the membership fee of the Export Promotion Council.

He also laid the foundation of a handicrafts productivity centre which will be built by the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts with partial funding from the ministry of textiles. 

The facility will come up in an area of 4,000 sq metres at an estimated cost of around Rs.10 crore.