Indian Commerce and Industry Minister, Piyush Goyal, announced on Saturday that international trade transactions will soon be conducted in rupee currency, as several banks from various countries are opening special Vostro accounts with Indian banks. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has approved 60 requests to open Special Rupee Vostro Accounts of correspondent banks from 18 countries including the UK, Singapore, and New Zealand.
Speaking at the Textile Advisory Group on Man-Made Fibre in Rajkot, Goyal stated that the RBI is in discussions with central banks of other countries to further this initiative. Goyal also revealed that negotiations for free trade agreements (FTAs) with developed regions, such as the European Union, the UK, and Canada, are in an "advanced" stage. Furthermore, groups including European Free Trade Association Free Trade Agreement (EFTA), Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) are also keen to start talks for similar pacts with India.
Highlighting the second phase of the production-linked incentive scheme for the textiles sector, Goyal stated that extensive stakeholder discussions have taken place on the subject. He is confident that the scheme will soon be finalized and taken up for approval at the highest level. Goyal added that the government is signing trade pacts with regions such as the UAE and Australia, which will benefit domestic exporters by enabling them to push their shipments.
He also announced that the textiles ministry has decided to set up an ESG (environmental, social, and governance commitments) task force to promote sustainability in the textiles sector. The task force will come up with suggestions to make the sector more environment-friendly and sustainable. Additionally, the textiles ministry has launched a portal to promote the sale of handicrafts and handloom products.
On the National Textiles Corporation, Goyal stated that the viability and other issues of its units have been discussed with the Finance Ministry, but no final decision has been taken yet. Regarding pink worms affecting cotton crops in certain places, Goyal stated that they are in discussions with the Agriculture Ministry and scientists to develop pink worm-resistant varieties.
Expressing confidence in achieving the USD 100-billion target for the textiles sector, Goyal stated that working with the industry would help take the industry's combined domestic and international economic value to USD 250 billion. Goyal concluded by stating that the Saurashtra Tamil Sangamam, which is being conducted under the 'Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat' Initiative in Gujarat, aims to promote the cultural exchange between various states of India.