Web Exclusive | October 2014
Evolution of textile industry in India
- By RS Jalan, Managing Director, GHCL Ltd
Textiles are known to mankind since or earlier than 7,000 BC. The knowhow of textiles is older than metal working or pottery making. There are evidences that have been unearthed which has proved that people in Harrapan civilization knew weaving and spinning. Such is the age of textiles in India.
In the medieval period, the evolution advanced a step further when William Lee invented the stocking frame, the first but hand-operated weft knitting machine.
But the real evolution of textiles in the field of technology happened in the industrial age. One name which finds worth mentioning over here is Sir Richard Arkwright. A visionary and doyen of his standards , he infused the much needed technology at that point of time to give spinning and weaving an industrial outlook through his inventions.
Coming back to the evolution at our own backyard, the Indian textile Industry has been ever growing. Where tradition, not fashion, rules, concentration on the aesthetic prevails instead of mere change. While India has been celebrated over centuries for its fibre base, spinning techniques and weaving magic, it has slowly carved a distinct place for itself in home textiles products as well worldwide. The two world wars and the Swadeshi movement in India provided great stimulus to the Indian cotton textile industry. Although during the period 1922 to 1937 the industry was in doldrums which also witnessed a number of Bombay mills being changed hands. The cotton textile industry is rightly described as a Swadeshi industry because it was developed with indigenous entrepreneurship and capital and in the pre-independence era the Swadeshi movement stimulated demand for Indian textile in the country.
Indian textiles industry is now a well-established one with showing significant attributes and a lustrous future. The country is the second biggest textiles manufacturer worldwide, right after China. The Indian textile industry is an integral part of the overall manufacturing sector of the country and is a major contributor to the country’s economy. According to August 2014 reports, the sector contributes about 14 per cent to industrial production, 4 per cent to the gross domestic product (GDP), and 17 per cent to the country's export earnings. India's textile industry is also the largest in the country in terms of employment generation. It not only generates jobs in its own industry, but also opens up scope for the other ancillary sectors. Indian textile industry currently generates employment for more than 35 million people.
The size of India’s textile
Textile technologies are undergoing a profound change. Textile structures in technical applications are creating a new market potential. Creative and successful considerations of textile investment in widely diverse fields will shape our future and provide assurance. The growth of the textile industry is not only limited to manufacture and export of garments. The growth and success of Indian textile industries lies in the vertical integration of the policies and framework which have helped manufacturers in domestically subjugating the entire process which also bears an impact on the overall cost like raw material treatment, captive power generation etc. This has also led to the in house production of cotton, jute etc to complement and support their own manufacturing portfolio. This again has an impact on the overall cost of the finished good. India is also home to almost one fourth of the spindle activities worldwide thereby coming second to China. Looming or we say looms as such is also a weapon in the armoury of the Indian textile industries as it covers an unprecedented 61 per cent share.
It is also noteworthy to mention over here that India is a significant textiles fibre and yarn manufacturer on the global platform, t