India’s Council for Leather Exports (CLE) on Saturday urged the government to create a leather park scheme for boosting production, amid expectations that many large brands and manufacturers could increase their sourcing from India.

CLE Chairman Sanjay Leekha also said that the benefits of the Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI) should be extended to the leather sector.

“A leather park scheme could provide the needed impetus. Hence, the leather sector may be covered in a leather park scheme on similar lines of scheme announced for textile parks, as there is substantial similarity between textile and leather industry,” he said in a statement.

To enhance exports, reinstatement of the Basic Customs Duty exemption on wet blue, crust and finished leathers was also requested by the chairman.

“In order to meet the additional working capital requirements of the industry to meet their export commitments, additional credit with lower interest rates and flexible repayment options may be considered,” he added.

He was speaking at an event where Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Anupriya Patel laid the stone for the International Testing Laboratory for leather sector in Kanpur, an initiative aimed at helping the testing requirements of export products as per the stipulations of the overseas buyers.

The minister assured all kinds of support and redressal of concerns as raised by the leather fraternity, the council said.

Kanpur is the largest manufacturing base of industrial safety boots, saddlery and harness items in the country and it is also a major production centre for finished leather and value added products and footwear.

The leather industry in Kanpur cluster has taken a significant step for increasing production levels by taking initiatives for establishment of mega leather, footwear and accessories development cluster (MLFAC).

Speaking at the occasion, P R Aqeel, Chairman, Leather Sector Skill Council, said that the council is playing a vital role to facilitate development of skilled human resources required for sustained growth of the leather and leather products industry.

The council’s key initiative includes development of the ecosystem, content, training of trainers, training programmes, placement and certifications, Aqeel said.