India to be self-reliant in silk production by 2020

The Government is aiming to increase the number of people engaged in the silk sector from 8.5 million to 10 million by 2020, primarily through the training of around 50,000 people

March 22, 2018

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by PM Narendra Modi, has given its approval for Central Sector Scheme "Integrated Scheme for Development of Silk Industry"

A total allocation of over US$330 million has been approved for the implementation of the scheme over 2017-20; It will be implemented by the Ministry through Central Silk Board

The initiatives are touted to increase the country’s silk production from more than 30,300 tonnes during 2016-17 to 38,500 tonnes by end of 2019-20 by improving output with technology

R&D interventions will include development of disease resistant silkworm breeds along with bodies such as IITs, CSIR, IISc and research institutes on Sericulture from Japan, China, Bulgaria

India will be self-reliant in the production of silk by 2020, Smriti Zubin Irani, the Minister of Textiles, said on March 22nd. The minister said that the Union Cabinet’s decision approving the Integrated Scheme for Development of Silk Industry will help increase the production of high quality Bivoltine silk by 62 per cent to 8,500 tonnes per annum by 2020. Ms Irani added that the Government is aiming to increase the number of people engaged in the silk sector from 8.5 million to 10 million by 2020, primarily with the training of 50,000 people. Additionally, an inter-ministerial committee will be set up under the aegis of the Textiles Ministry to disburse over US$150 million to support research and development in the sector.

In order to strengthen the sector, seed production units will be upgraded and strengthened, besides increasing the production capacity to cater to the increased demand for silk in the future. The silk sector will also be equipped under the Government’s “Digital India” initiative, wherein web-based solutions will be provided to farmers engaged in seed production and other allied activities. Under financial assistance, silk farmers and seed producers will receive subsidy under the Direct Benefit Transfer programme. Ms Irani said that the Government was working to develop suitable infrastructure and markets for the produced silk, including 21 cocoon testing centres in the main silk producing states across the country.

Apart from this, 19 basic silk seed farms, 20 silkworm seed production centres, 131 chawki rearing centres will be set up and 500 acres of land is being set aside for improved varieties. This will be helpful as only 17 out of 26 silk producing and consuming states in India have a separate Department or Directorate of Sericulture. Moreover, infrastructure development by individual farmers and silk producers will be financially supported by the Central Government, which will bear 50-80 per cent of the costs. The measures are expected to increase the country’s silk production from more than 30,300 tonnes during 2016-17 to 38,500 tonnes by end of 2019-20 by improving output through technology.

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