About $300 billion textile exports by 2025 to create 35 million additional jobs, and the new Textile Policy to realise these goals before this April-end: The Union Textiles Minister, Sanntosh Gangwar, made no bones about neither the figure nor the time, when he stated this to an august crowd of over 200 people, mostly from the textile industry at a seminar on textiles held on the last day of the Make in India Week programme at the MMRDA Grounds in BKC, Mumbai. The seminar drew stalwarts from the cream of textile industry including Gautam Singhania, Managing Director, Raymond; K K Maheshwari, Managing Director, Grasim Industries; BK Goenka, Chairman, Welspun Group; and Naishadh Parikh, Director, Arvind Ltd. Apart from the Minister, the Union Government was represented by Rashmi Verma, Textiles Secretary and Kavita Gupta, Textiles Commissioner.
BK Goenka in his opening theme address recalled the time when the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. “That was the time, Gujarat had the best textile policy and it has all started now for the nation to repeat that success with Modiji’s Make in India Programme. Other states have followed the Gujarat initiative. The mantra that the PM wanted the textile industry to follow is ‘four Fs’, that is from farm to factory, from factory to fashion and from fashion to foreign,” he said. Said Goenka: “India is now the second largest force in textiles, but the challenges are mounting and we cannot afford to have complacency. But now is the time. China is facing problems – rising labour and energy costs. The Indian textile industry is contributing to $110 billion to the GDP, with the domestic production at $70 billion and export at $40 billion. Despite all these impressive numbers, we still have a long way to go.” He spoke about the challenges like TPP, and FTAs and meeting competition from countries like Vietnam and Bangladesh.
According to Rashmi Verma, since we have been exporting a lot of raw materials like cotton, the value in the value chain continues to diminish, and ultimately blunting the competitive edge. Talking about the barriers to growth, she categorically said that India’s productivity is pretty low in textiles. Verma spoke about the boost in investment before 2014 and also the fall in investment after 2014. “Mainly because of this, we have amended the TUFS, and now we hope the investment will pick up,” she said. Explaining in details all the measures taken by the Government to give a shot in the arm to textile industry, the Textiles Secretary emphasised the importance of investing in new areas like technical textiles.
Naishadh Parik, Director of Arvind Ltd, gave the concluding remarks and vote of thanks. This was followed by the plenary Session, of which Dr Kavita Gupta was the Chairperson. There were four interesting presentations: Success Story of the Indian Textile and Apparel Industry by Gautam Hari Singhania, CMD, Raymond Group; India’s Opportunities in Man Made Fiber Textiles by KK Maheshwari, Managing Director, Grasim Industries Ltd; Technical Textiles: Growth Potential and Investment Opportunities by Pramod Khosla, Chairman, Indian Technical Textile Association and Chief Executive Officer, Khosla Profil Pvt Ltd; Potential Opportunities in Technical Textile Park by Amit Uplenchwar, CEO – SEZ, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd, and Chairman, Mundra SEZ Textile & Apparel Park. The session portrayed the competitiveness of Indian textile and apparel industry, highlighted the potential opportunities in emerging sectors in the industry such as technical textiles, investment opportunities in textile clusters/integrated textiles park and discuss success stories of private sector in India.
The final event of the four-hour long seminar was a panel discussion on the theme “India as a major sourcing hub for garments and home textiles”, with RCM Reddy, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, IL&FS Cluster Development Initiative as the session moderator. The participants were: Gautam Nair, Managing Director, Matrix Clothing; Sudhir Dhingra, Chairman and Managing Director, Orient Craft Limited; Deepika Rana, Executive Director and Country Head (India), Li & Fung Limited; Calvin Woolley, Category Head – Textiles, IKEA India; Gustaf Asp, Managing Director, Hennes and Mauritiz India (H&M); Jagadish Hinduja, Chairman, Gokaldas Images Pvt Ltd; Bharat Shah, Founder and Chairman, Ekaya Shah Narayan Das & Co.