Banks told to recast Rs 35,000 crore debt for textile sector


NEW DELHI: The government on Tuesday asked banks to restructure loans worth Rs 35,000 crore for the textile sector, bringing relief to the sector, which is reeling under the impact of volatile yarn prices and slowdown in major markets. Banks have an exposure of Rs 1.56 lakh crore to the sector, which means just under a quarter of the loans will be restructured in one of the biggest loan recast programmes. 

The long-pending demand of the industry will benefit around 2,000 cotton textiles mills, a majority of which are in Tamil Nadu, and the man-made fibre segment in Gujarat, where assembly elections are due later this year. Of the overall package, nearly Rs 27,000 crore is expected to be pocketed by the cotton mills, while Rs 3,600 crore will flow to the man-made segment. Before assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, the government had announced a package for weavers, which included softer loan terms. 

The latest lifeline to the largest employer in the manufacturing sector comes at a time when industrial growth and exports have slowed and there is an all-round demand to boost economic activity. A healthier financial position of Indian textile companies also augurs well for their export competitiveness. The package, finalized after a meeting between finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and commerce, industry and textiles minister Anand Sharma, will include a two-year interest moratorium and conversion of eroded working capital into longer-term loans with three to five year term. 

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Thai delegation explores business opportunities in Gujarat


VADODARA: A trade delegation of Thai representatives led by ambassador Pisan Manawapat visited the city on Tuesday to gauge industrial and infrastructure development in and around it.

Manawapat with around half-a-dozen other officials from Thailand met officials at Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC), Vadodara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Vand are scheduled to visit key industrial units around the city on Wednesday.

VMC commissioner Ashwini Kumar said the delegation was on a visit to familiarize itself with the business environment in the state. “They discussed urban and industrial development in and around Vadodara extensively with us. They were keen to know how the city would develop in the coming years and what opportunities would emerge here,” he added.

Manawapat said the delegation was there to see the potential for business in the state. “So far, business houses from Thailand have had a good presence in south India. We will introduce Gujarat as a destination for business to them,” he said. The ambassador said that he had also been briefed regarding the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor. “We will look into the opportunities available on this front too,” he said. He added that prominent Thai construction companies had presence in India and were involved in infrastructure projects.

At VCCI, the delegation met industrialists across a broad spectrum of industrial sectors. Even representatives of education institutes and NGOs were present. “Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra has announced a Free Trade Agreement with India. Once this is signed, we expect the trade between the two nations to multiply and bilateral trade may exceed 10 billion USD,” Nilesh Shukla, senior vice-president, VCCI, said.

Former VCCI president Jatin Bhatt said the Thai delegation was particularly impressed by the power situation in the state. “They are eyeing sectors like power, textiles, automobiles and electronics,” he added.