After scrapping five loom boards, Irani-run Ministry of Textiles set to shut down 100-year-old British-era PSU

Sources said a plan to shut down two PSUs has been finalised, and a Cabinet note has been distributed. The British-era PSU is famous for supplying textiles to armed forces

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PTI Photo
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Vishwadeepak

After scrapping five loom boards within 8 days, Smriti Irani-run Ministry of Textiles is all set to shut down two important PSUs in the coming times.

Sources told NH that the Ministry has prepared a proposal and a Cabinet note has also been distributed in this regard.

According to the sources, the two PSUs that have been identified by the ministry for closure are the British-era British India Corporation (BIC) and Handlooms Exports Corporation of India.

Headquartered in Kanpur, the 100-year-old British India Corporation was founded by Alexander Mac Robert in 1920. Famous for producing textile for the armed forces, the company is also known for manufacturing two popular brands of woollen products – Lalimli and Dhariwal.

Nationalised in 1981, with nearly two thousand employees, the BIC operates two woollen mills: one in Kanpur and one in Dhariwal, Punjab.

According to sources, the ministry is of the view that to implement the idea of “minimum government, maximum governance” it is important to identify loss-making companies and shut them down. Unfortunately, BIC has constantly been running in losses for many years.

“Many more PSUs will meet the same fate,” said the source.

The other PSU which faces closure by the Ministry run by Irani is the Handlooms Exports Corporation of India. Founded 50 years ago with the aim to promote export of Indian handlooms, handicrafts, jewellery etc, the company failed to register “desired profit”. However, data provided by the company says it has generated a profit of Rs 397 lakh which is nearly Rs 40 crore after tax deduction in 2018-19.

When asked to react, an employee of the company said on the condition of anonymity, “In the last few years we have seen an increase in demand for Indian handlooms, ethnic products, decorative items, antiques etc in the international market...I agree that that the company has not made huge profits, but shutting it down is not a solution”.

As per records, the company, which is famous for supplying beautiful artefacts to international audiences, has registered negative profit only for five times in 24 years between 1996 to 2020.

It is worth recalling here that the Ministry of Textiles scrapped the 28-year-old All India Handloom Board (AIHB) in the last week of July.

Then the ministry wound up the All India Handicrafts Board and the Cotton Advisory Board on August 3. The All India Powerloom Board and the Jute Advisory Board were scrapped on August 4.

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