Strengthening textile education in India is necessary
The Textile Association (India), Mumbai Unit was established in the year 1952. This unit has grown to one of the biggest unit out of 27 units all over the country. The Mumbai Unit has the distinction of being not only the pioneering unit of the Association, but also having the largest number of members i.e. viz 4000. C Bose, President Emeritus, TAI Mumbai Unit, presents the current state of the industry and suggestions to boost the sector.
What is the present state of industry?
There were not many mills in our country when we gained independence, but there are currently more than 35,000 mills there now. The condition of the sector now is commendable because we have seen substantial expansion throughout the years. The economy is in good shape because the government supports it, banks provide funding, and many industries are expanding and inventing.
Challenges to achieve $100 billion target
Although there is growth, it is happening at a relatively slower rate. I always prefer the quantity over the value of imports or exports. We should start comparing our textile industries in terms of kilo yarn, quintals, etc. rather than dollars or euros.
Given how advanced India has become, we should place more of an emphasis on innovation. China is introducing an unique concept. We should develop our own machineries too which is cost-effective as well low consumption of energy.
How has the textile industry evolved in the last 40 years?
I began my career in the textile sector 40 years ago, when the cotton industry and its mills were flourishing, there was high-quality output. Too many brands eventually arrived without the necessary infrastructure. As a result, the fibre-to-garment ratio, which is 1:100, cannot be more than 20–30%. Consider that the completed cotton shirt costs roughly Rs 5000 and that the cost of the cotton is Rs 300 per kilo.
Furthermore, the weight of that shirt is less than 200 grams. Thus, the 200 grams of fibre, which costs about Rs 50–60, have been sold 100 times under the guise of branded clothing. Consequently, this proportion ought to be in check by the government. The government has been working to find a solution, but they lack reliable information. Data that is not organised is the largest issue. In our country, the textile business is quite fragmented.
The government is investing extensively in the development of technical textiles, home textiles, and jute, but we are unable to observe any positive results.
Any government policies or schemes boosting the textile industry?
Around 105 lakh hectares are currently under cotton cultivation, although production has not really grown. Since there is currently less cotton available than there is demand for, Dhirubai Ambani declared that polyester is a common man’s material of choice when it was introduced in around 1981.
If we look at today, cotton production has decreased from 70% a few years ago to 40–45% today. The percentage of synthetic fibre has reached 55%; globally, we are likewise following this trend. Cotton is a natural fibre, hence its production is constrained. Making synthetic fibres or filaments available will increase our per capita consumption (we are now around 5, China is 16 and USA is 20, so we have to reach their level).
People only give the apparel industry priority when it comes to the textile business. But in reality, there is a massively higher demand for technical, home, and geo textiles. Since the majority of research is conducted on garments, it is important to look at other non-apparel industries. If we do build a suitable infrastructure, this sector will expand significantly.
Is there an increase in awareness of textile education in India?
The lack of awareness in the textile sector is one factor contributing to the slow growth of the Indian textile industry. We need systematic qualified men if we want systematic growth. If you see that there are many vacant seats in textile engineering, it is unlikely that this is due to the lower remuneration. As a result, many colleges have discontinued this subject. In order for the scientific approach to be used in textile manufacturing, the government needs to step in and increase the value of this course.
The same approach we used fifty years ago is still being used today, which results in textile mills doing extremely well for three months but then being idle for the following nine. This shouldn’t be the situation. Nobody can prevent these mills from experiencing a new boom if they adopt a scientific methodology.
Kindly cite suggestions for boosting the industry…
The cost of logistics today is approximately Rs. 5–6 per kg. As a result, the manufacturer pays a high logistics cost. It produces a lot of pollutants as well. Therefore, I advise the government to build ports close to the factory. Strengthening textile education is necessary. Both the government and the sector should have access to the proper data. To reach the $100 billion goal, we must innovate and provide high-quality products.