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Textile exports can reach $50 bn by 2014-15: Minister

MUMBAI: Textile exports are expected to reach USD 50 billion by 2014-15 on the back of new markets, Union Minister of Textiles K S Rao said today. 

"We have set a target of total exports at USD 50 billion (through the year) by FY2015, as we are not only planning to further strengthen the existing markets in the US and 
European Union but also exploring new opportunities inLatin America, Australia and Japan," Rao said here. 

The total exports stood at USD 31.7 billion in 2012-13. To further boost the industry, the Ministry will talk to Reserve Bank and 
Finance Ministry to declare textile a priority sector, he said, adding that being a priority sector the textile industry would be able to get funds immediately when required. 

"The sector lacks skilled workers. The ministry will help the industry to train people from below poverty line category. We will support the industry in getting skilled workers. The input cost will go down with rise in number of skilled workers in the industry," he added. 

The textile industry employs 80 million people directly and indirectly. 

The ministry wants the industry to tap 
solar power to solve the problem of power shortages, he said. 

"Under the government's renewable energy scheme, the textile sector will also get subsidy on equipment to tap solar power," Rao further said. 

According to the 
Cotton Advisory Board, the cotton imports are likely to be 2 million bales due to the rupee depreciation this year. 

"Earlier we had set a target of 2.5 million bales for this year. However, due to the rupee depreciation we expect it to be around 2 million bales," a CAB official present at the event said. 

Last year, India had imported 1.2 million bales.