The office of the Textile Commissioner was established in 1943 during the World War II for arranging the supply of cloth to the defence forces as well as civilian population. After the end of World War II, the Textile Commissioner was given the regulatory function of administering the prices, distribution and control of certain varieties of cloth meant for civilian consumption in the post-war conditions of scarcity. Very recently, Kiran Soni Gupta has been appointed the Textile Commissioner. She previously has worked in different assignments with the Government of India, and the governments of Kerala and Rajasthan. She has been District Collector of two districts and Divisional Commissioner of Jaipur, Jodhpur and Ajmer.
In an informal chat with the Editor of the Indian Textile Journal, Kiran Soni Gupta, Textile Commissioner, Government of India, speaks on the new textile policy and opportunities and challenges in Asian countries.
ITJ Editor: The new textile policy is on the anvil. The policy aims at bringing investment of $120 billion, so the sector can achieve $650-billion growth by 2024-25. What is your take on the new policy?
Kiran Soni Gupta (KSG): The new textile policy is only a draft and will be announced very shortly. The policy will [certainly] give a direction to the textile sector. It will act as a huge support to the textile sector. It has outlined all the aspects - the vision, the strategy and the action plan. I am sure, it will impact not only India, but other countries as well.
ITJ Editor: Recently, the textile sector has been identified as the 25 working sectors that will be given boost by the Modi government. What´s your say?
KSG: Yes, our Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already launched a ´Make in India´ campaign, whose focus has been on manufacturing. The primary focus is to make India a manufacturing hub just like China. If you see the manufacturing capacities-in terms of employment and material goods-the textile sector has very good opportunities. And that is why the textile sector has been identified as one of the 25 segments.
ITJ Editor: Is there any specific policy measures for manufacturing that is expected to be out?
KSG: In the manufacturing space, we are already doing a plenty of things. We have the Technology Upgradation Fund (TUF) scheme, the biggest scheme in the textile sector, which was launched in 1999. The idea is to bring in new technologies. We have already started experiencing some drastic changes in the textile sector. If you go and see the modern units, which has been set up, it doesn´t shake you as the old concept of the factory; it is so clean and tidy. If you see the product, there are zero defects. Also lot of these products are exported, which means these products have an international market too.
ITJ Editor: Do you think China is a role model for the textile industry in India? Are there any lessons from China we need to learn?
KSG: From a global perspective, we [always] have some lessons and takeaways. China has done very well in textile arena. In fact, each and every country is interacting with China. China has become a world manufacturing hub because of its good work culture and by producing products in the most cost-effective manner. Consumer wants value for money and China has accomplished that.
China has already taught us manufacturing, which I mean is creation of wealth. Some nations like US, Europe, etc. have become very powerful by trading, while some of them by tourism (Switzerland), but the key to growth of any country is creation of wealth. Optimum utilisation of resources-whether it is land, raw materials or human resource-is the key for growth.