September 6, 2021: Samarth Scheme, also known as Scheme for Capacity Building in the Textile Sector (SCBTS), was approved by Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) in 2017 in order to ensure steady supply of skilled manpower in the labour-intensive textile sector.
When did the Samarth Scheme came into being?
It was on August 14, 2019 that the Ministry of Textiles in a meeting, decided to impart skill training to 4 lakh people in 18 states under the Samarth – Scheme for Capacity Building in Textile Sector (SCBTS).
Challenges faced by the textile Industry in India
1. Insurmountable amount of unskilled labour: Even while the industry has cheap manpower, mostly they are unskilled. This lack of knowhow makes them less productive comparative to other south Asian countries.
2. Poor infrastructure: Outdated technological and low degree of modernisation in various steps of value chain affects badly the quality, cost and distribution which results in failures to meet global standards in the highly competitive export market. Though India is a hub of IT services, they are not effectively implemented in textile sector to improve the productivity.
3. High power tariff: Exorbitant power charges in the country is another factor that drags down the textile sector in India. High power cost and erratic supply hampers the production in India.
4. Low capital investment: Lack of scale and the fragmented nature of industry have discouraged mega investments in the Indian textile industry. Unattractiveness of the industry has resulted in low FDI inflows, despite 100% FDI being allowed under the automatic route. These drawbacks created a hurdle to make industry more competitive on the global basis.
5. Strict tax norms: The strict and changing government policies at the state and central government levels pose a major challenge to the textile industry. The tax structure GST (Goods and Service Tax) makes the garments expensive.
6. Cutthroat competition from neighbouring countries: Presently nations like China, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka ace the competition in the low-price garment market. Besides, in the global market tariff and non-tariff barriers coupled with quota is posing major challenge to the Indian textile industry.
7. Social issues: Social issues like child labour, safety of women and personal safety norms are also some of the challenges for the textile industry in India.
Aim of the Samartha Scheme
To skill the youth for gainful and sustainable employment in the textile sector.
The following objectives were key to its genesis:
1. Provide demand driven, placement oriented National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) compliant skilling programmes to create jobs in the organized textile and related sectors, covering the entire value chain of textile, excluding spinning and weaving.
2. To promote skilling and skill upgradation in the traditional sectors of handlooms, handicrafts, sericulture and jute.
3. To assure the provision of sustainable livelihood either by wage or self employment.
4. Eighteen state governments have been allocated a training target of 3.6 lakh beneficiaries for conducting training programmes in traditional and organised sectors.
5. Industry/industry associations are being empanelled for undertaking industry-oriented entry level skilling programmes in the organized sectors.
6. Gradual to its actual goal, the ministry signed MoU with only 16 states as Jammu and Kashmir and Odisha, did not participate in the meeting. The 16 states are- Arunachal Pradesh, Kerala, Mizoram, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Tripura, Karnataka, Manipur, Haryana, Meghalaya, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand.
How the Samarth Scheme is solving the skilled man power problem in Indian textile sector
Under the Samarth scheme programme the entire value chain of the textiles sector is dealt with, including apparel and garments, knitwear, metal handicraft, handloom, textiles, handicraft and carpet except spinning and weaving.
The training programme involves advanced technology oriented features like Aadhaar Based Biometric Attendance System (AEBAS), CCTV recording, dedicated Call Centre, Mobile App based Management Information System and on-line monitoring.
It is assured under the scheme that the successful trainees, after the competition of the mentorship, employment will be provided to all these beneficiaries in various textiles related activities.
Provisions are there even for those who are not employed by the industry may get additional benefits provided by financial services under Mudra scheme(It is to be noted that about three-fourths of workers in the textiles sector are women and 70 percent of the beneficiaries of the Mudra loan are women).
North Eastern States must be given focus on silk and jute sector.
Scheme for Capacity Building in Textile Sector (SCBTS)
India houses a tremendous potential of employment generation in the textiles sector. This initiative of Samarth Scheme will help the ministry to extend its support to the state agency and make them equal partners for building the spirit of national development to boost the textiles sector as well as the workforce involved in it.