India’s obsession for silk and Indian silk artisans’ creativity with this marvelous fiber is well recognized. The increasing demand from domestic and international markets for a piece of apparel made out of silk has, however, increased India’s dependency on import of this important fiber in last decades. Without saying, China is the largest supplier of silk to the country, especially in the form of yarn.
But the country’s dependency on imported silk is gradually declining due to the growth of domestic production in last few years. The country has made significant progress in production during the 11th five year plan which is reducing the demand supply gap. According to Central Silk Board, India had imported 8400 MT of silk yarn in 2008-9 while country’s silk production was at 18,370 MT. In 2012-13 financial year, silk yarn import has come down below 5000 MT while domestic silk production reached 23,680 MT annually. This significant growth in production is attributed to use of better technology in cultivation and post harvesting processes. The country’s demand for silk is estimated at 30,000 MT per annum and hence, it would take more time to achieve self-sufficiency. In the 12th five year plan period Central Government has allocated Rs 1,264 crore for development of sericulture and silk industry in the country. The focus during the ongoing 12th plan period is on to improve productivity and quality, adoption of technology and mechanization to reduce labor dependency in the silk sector.
Here to note, that India has also imposed anti-dumping duty on silk imports to protect the interest of domestic silk producers. Further, the weak rupee (against US$) has made silk yarn imports costlier than domestically available products. India is also the second largest silk fabric and apparel exporter after China.