'Incentives announced for textiles will help create jobs'
"It is a sector where India has gained a lot of advantage ... It has a great potential for job creation," the minister told reporters here.
This "extra push" was given to the sector due to various global developments, she said.
The Union Cabinet yesterday approved a Rs 6,000 crore package for textiles and apparel sector with an aim to create one crore new jobs in three years and attract investments of USD 11 billion while eyeing USD 30 billion in exports.
Textiles exports contribute significantly to the country's total exports at about USD 17 billion in 2014-15. The sector is witnessing huge competition from small countries like Bangladesh and Vietnam, which have access to developed markets at lower tariffs.
When asked about the impact of Brexit (possible exit of Britain from European Union) on India, Sitharaman said that the government is "watching the situation".
"We will be observing the developments. It is too early for me to comment (on its impact)," she added.
Talking about the stalled India-EU free trade agreement, the minister said India is waiting for the dates to resume the talks.
"We are waiting for the dates. It is my doubt that if because they are waiting for the outcome of Brexit, they have not yet given the dates as yet. The moment they give the dates, we will be keenly wanting to continue the talks to reach the conclusion at the earliest," she added.
Launched in June 2007, the negotiations for the proposed agreement have witnessed many hurdles with both sides having major differences on crucial issues like intellectual property rights, duty cut in automobile and spirits, and liberal visa regime.
The pact is aimed at reducing or significantly eliminating tariffs on goods, facilitating trade in services and boosting investments between the two sides.
When asked about Apple Inc's proposal to open single brand retail stores in the country after announcement of the tweaked FDI policy in the sector, Sitharaman said: "We have announced the policy. We will wait to hear from them".
The ministry has stated that it will give exemption to foreign firms such as Apple Inc coming with state-of-the-art technology from the mandatory local sourcing norms in the single-brand retail sector for up to three years.
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