The handmade carpet industry has written to Textiles Minister Smriti Irani, seeking export assistance in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting the supply chain.

The Carpet Export Promotion Council (CEPC), in a letter to Irani, said the industry is totally export-oriented and employs more than 20 lakh weavers who are mostly located in rural areas. Chairman of CEPC Siddh Nath Singh said the industry earns more than Rs 12,000 crore of equivalent foreign exchange annually. Singh urged the ministry to restore the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) to the earlier level of seven per cent from the existing five per cent. He said this would help the industry become more competitive in the international market, where India is the leading player.

CEPC also called on the central government to provide five per cent interest subvention to MSME exporters on packing credit finance on additional loan limits. The industry needs access to natural fibres like sisal, hemp and sea grass which are used for making carpets at competitive rates, Singh said. Chairman of carpet manufacturer OBEETEE, Rudra Chatterjee, said India has replaced China as the largest exporter of handmade carpets. He said it has trained more than 2,000 women weavers in this trade.

Source: PTI