A worker making a leather belt. Image: Reuters
New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday announced plans to launch a scheme for the labour intensive leather and footwear sector — similar to the existing one for textiles — to boost its growth and creation of jobs.
The scheme will be on the lines of the package announced for the textiles sector in June last year.
“A special scheme for creating employment in the textiles sector has already been launched. A similar scheme will be implemented for the leather and footwear sector,” Jaitley said.
In June 2016, the government approved a Rs 6,000-crore special package for the textiles and apparel sector to create one crore new jobs in 3 years, attracting investments of USD 11 billion and generating USD 30 billion in exports.
The announcement assumes significance as the commerce and industry ministry has suggested incentives for the leather and footwear sector, given its importance as a thrust segment under the Make in India initiative.
According to experts, Rs 1 crore investment in the sector results in creation of jobs for close to 250 people.
Currently, about 30 lakh people are directly employed in the sector.
China is giving tough competition to Indian leather manufacturers in terms of pricing. The government aims to increase the sectoral exports to $15 billion by 2020 from the current $7 billion.