Textiles Minister Kashiram Rana said on Thursday he would seek lowering of excise duty burden to eight per cent in the forthcoming Budget to prepare the sector for the post-quota regime, beginning 2005.
Rana told reporters prior to his meeting with Finance Minister Jaswant Singh that he would also seek setting up of a Textiles Industry Reconstruction Fund with a corpus of around Rs. 3000-4000 crore to provide assistance to viable sick units in the textiles sector.
"We want the duty burden to the reduced for the textiles industry in order to make the sector more competitive vis-a- vis countries like China, which allow several exemption to their exporters," he said, adding that while the Kelkar committee had recommended an excise duty of 16 per cent, the ministry was favourable to the eight per cent recommended by the N K Singh committee.
However, even though the Kelkar committee and the N K Singh committee have favoured removal of exemptions in the textiles sector, Rana said he was in favour of continuing the exemption from VAT for the powerloom sector.
"We will request the Finance Ministry to continue the exemption from VAT for the powerloom sector since there are several small scale units in the sector," he said.