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Debt waiver for weavers: YSR confident of Centre’s nod

Special Correspondent

Delegation for Delhi to press for waiver of Rs. 250 crore

— Photo: G. Krishnaswamy

Serious talk: Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy and others at the Handloom Day function organised by APCO in Hyderabad on Thursday.

HYDERABAD: Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy has expressed confidence that the Centre would soon take a decision on his waiving the debts of the handloom weavers in the State.

He said he had already requested the Prime Minister to take an early decision while veteran leaders from the handloom sector represented the issue to AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi during his recent visit to Gandhi Bhavan. A delegation led by Ministers would visit New Delhi later this month to press for the debt waiver which would cost Rs. 250 crore.

Inaugurating the National Handloom Day celebrations here on Thursday, Dr. Reddy said

the State had also decided to bear the Central government’s share towards matching grant for the Thrift Fund of handloom weavers as the Centre stopped its contribution. ‘Pavala Vaddi’ loans would be extended to 1.5 lakh weavers with credit cards, he added.

Finance Minister K. Rosaiah said Congress had launched a slew of measures to revive the handloom sector which was left in shambles by the previous government. It revived APCO, waived 9.2 per cent duty imposed on hank yarn used by handloom weavers, sanctioned 10 per cent subsidy on yarn and introduced, insurance cover and pension for weavers.

Mines and Handloom and Textiles Minister P. Sabitha Reddy said the handloom sector was being closely monitored on a par with agriculture sector. Minister for Sarvasikha Abhiyan M. Hanumantha Rao said APCO should increase wage component of weavers.

APCC Weavers’ Cell leader T. Nagayya exhorted weavers to infuse more creativity and quality into their craft in tune with market’s requirements.

TDP criticism

Meanwhile, State Weavers Cell of Telugu Desam general secretary D. Virupaksham said here on Thursday that the withdrawal of 9.2 per cent duty on hank yarn did not benefit the handloom weavers as even the power loom sector was given the same concession. He was reacting to the claim of Finance Minister K. Rosaiah that Congress government abolished the duty imposed by the NDA government at the Centre and TDP in the State.

The NDA, in fact, had a better solution when it imposed 9.2 duty on all types of yarn, both hank yarn (used in handloom sector) and cone yarn (power loom) but directed the National Handloom Development Corporation to refund the duty imposed on hank yarn to handloom weavers, he added.

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