Centre to introduce spl scheme for labour intensive sectors

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Bangalore, Oct 30 (UNI) A special scheme to rescue four labour intensive sectors -- textiles, leather, handicrafts and plantation-- is likely to be introduced soon to maintain competitiveness, following Rupee appreciation.

Announcing this, after inaugurating the 49th Annual Conference of the Karnataka Planters Association (KPA), Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh told newspersons here today that the main criteria for selecting the sectors were the impact of appreciation of Rupee, labour intensiveness and minimum import content.

Several sectors were already brought under a scheme, following the surge in forex reserves, he said, stressing that such a special scheme was the need of the hour for the four sectors.

Replying to the queries, he said he had already discussed the issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram and the response was positive.

Expressing concern over the shortage of labourers in the plantation sector, Mr Ramesh said the Coffee Board had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with IIT-Kharagpur to develop the machinery to cater to small and medium plantation growers.

Earlier, addressing the KPA members, he said the coffee sector would get Rs 750 crore in the 11th plan, to be cleared by the Finance Commission at a meeting on November eight. In the 10th plan covering 2002-07, the allocation to the sector was Rs 300 crore.

The increase in the 11th plan covering 2007-12 showed the concern of the Centre in safeguarding the sector, he said, adding that the funds would be utilised more effectively during the period.

UNI

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