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The Indian Textile Journal - November 2008 Viewpoint
Bad Times Call for Tough Moves

Despite the crises gripping the world economy in all kinds of forms, the Indian Government has been reassuring the industry that the country will not be affected. This brings hardly any relief to the industry in general. However, with India-ITME round the corner, the textile industry, which has witnessed worse crisis before, seems to be a bit optimistic. The very fact that over 750 companies are vying for attention of buyers with their machinery and accessories is clear evidence of the confidence the textile industry has built over the last few years. Textiles contribution to the economy of the country in terms of employment, exports, and industrial production can never be underestimated.

Textile is the mother industry of the country and it is extremely important to the country’s economy. The Government and the industry must do everything possible to unleash the potential of the industry and bring the necessary investments in modernisation. The need of the hour is labour reforms, which only can make textiles & garment production cost effective. India is in a position to grab substantial additional business in this sector if the current weaknesses of the industry in the areas of interest rates and labour laws could be sorted out. The issue to be considered is restoration of the confidence of the investors in the textile industry. The industry would need investible surplus of Rs 25,000 to 30,000 crore as promoters contribution, if total investment of Rs 80,000 to 90,000 crore was necessary for modernisation.

The industry also must adjust itself to the new dynamics, invest in operations that have the scale and scope to generate efficiencies and engage in ‘ruthless’ cost-cutting so that it becomes more competitive. It must graduate from being a low-cost, low-value supplier to a high-volume, high-value supplier, invest for the coming two decades instead of just the next season, develop internationally known brands and labels and have a global footprint and global ambitions. The industry must show aggression and enterprise like its counterparts in other sectors such as automobiles, steel and pharmaceuticals.

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