Cover Story | January 2019
Branding India in textiles is vital
The Textiles Committee is raring to rewrite its role as a greater facilitator of textile industry, its production and trade: this was clearly evident during a recent informal chat the Editor of the Indian Textile Journal had with the Secretary of Textiles Committee, Ajit B Chavan.
Said Chavan: “Quality is the finest differentiator in the textiles and clothing sector today at a time of cut-throat competition worldwide. Modernisation is happening, but we need to do more on the quality front. Besides, India has to brand itself in the textiles arena. Tomorrow should always be better than today, but the industry must appreciate that there are no short-cuts for achieving quality culture in the industry. The industry needs to study what the world wants and align its production to such needs. Industry must continuously engage with Government(s) and should not approach the Government only when there is a problem at hand. If the industry is ambitious to achieve leadership position, it is incumbent upon them to upgrade itself through modernisation, skill upgradation and bringing in quality culture in their organisations.”
Talking of ambitious plans, Chavan said “the Textiles Committee is reinventing itself in the context of the changing market situations and requirements of the textile industry today. My focus is on quality. Evolving appropriate domestic regulations on quality and compliance with export quality norms are important aspects that the Textiles Committee will have to pay more attention to. Today, with India exporting textiles worth about $37 to $39 billion, there is immense scope for the Textiles Committee to play a catalytic role in harnessing our export potential.”
The mandate for establishing the Textiles Committee remains relevant even today – ensuring quality of textiles and textile machinery. In the past, regulatory issues governing the collection of cess on the production of textiles, plus certification, compliance to export regulation were its focus areas. However, in the last two decades, the Committee has transformed itself from being a regulator to that of a facilitator. Quality is at its core focus now. Said Chavan: “We have initiated a lot of proposals to project branding of Indian textile products in the international markets. The level of contamination is quite high in cotton produced in India as compared to cotton produced internationally. We are working on how to get cotton cleaner. Raw cotton export itself is a $4 billion business. Unfortunately, in India some of the cotton varieties are not considered as topmost quality varieties. Ultimately, our focus should be to introduce to increased intervention which will result into realisation on our exports and also raise the realisation for the farmers.”
Testing textiles and conformity assessment play an equally important role in facilitating exports and is one of the major verticals of the Textiles Committee. He said, “Our people are engaged in continuously helping the industry in upgrading product quality and providing need based services to the trade and industry for both domestic and international markets. We have also strengthened and renewed our focus on Total Quality Management (TQM) services and market research activities, and our large technical workforce works tirelessly in the field with the intent to help the industry in resolving their quality related issues.”
With the advent of new technologies, the Textiles Committee has implemented and extended the services of Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) to its valued customers in Mumbai and Delhi. LIMS is a computer-based solution, providing streamlined workflow automation and management in the laboratory and helps in facilitating “ease-of-doing” business by reducing lead time required for issuance of certificate. The Textiles Committee’s laboratories have been accredited with ISO 17025 by NABL and have been extending its valuable consultancy to set up test houses to stakeholders.
The Textiles Committee is headquartered in Mumbai and has a wide pan-India network of 30 offices including 19 state-of-the-art laboratories in major textile manufacturing/exporting centres. The Committee was set up by an Act of Parliament and is working under the administrative control of the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India. The Textiles Committee is managed by a Board comprising of 29 members as laid down under Section 3(3) of the Textiles Committee Act, 1963 and Rule 3 of the Textiles Committee Rules, 1965. It comprises a Chairman from the Industry, a Vice-chairman-Textile Commissioner (ex-officio), and a Secretary, who is the Chief Executive of the organisation as a Member Secretary. There are 12 other ex-officio members representing various textile federations, export promotion councils, etc., and 14 other members representing almost all interests of the textiles sector.
Speaking about the existing schemes of Ministry of Textiles being implemented by the Textiles Committee, Chavan said: “We run the Handloom Mark Scheme, where we ensure the originality of handloom products through issuance of labels. We have worked on complete automatisation of the process. All these will be online soon so that it will be easy for the customers to get the labels through a simple process.” He further said: “The India Handloom Brand (IHB) scheme ensures the quality of the handloom products. The scheme has been implemented with an objective of facilitating Zero Defect Zero Effect handloom products and establishes it as a brand by ensuring quality, social and environmental compliances so that the weavers can get a premium price.”
Touching upon the Samarth scheme, Chavan said: “We are the technology/knowledge partner for the Rs 1,300-crore Samarth skilling programme for the textile industry. This is a three-year scheme and the idea is to train about 10 lakh people. About 70 per cent of those trained will be employed in the formal sector, and the rest will go for self-employment. We have already developed/adopted 65 courses across various sub-sectors that can be offered under the Samarth scheme. Some more are in the pipeline. The Textiles Committee has already shortlisted 76 assessment agencies that can take up third-party assessment of the trainings that will be imparted under Samarth.”
The Textiles Committee, through its Textile Economic Research (TER), has been supporting textile trade, and the industry in taking informed decisions on domestic and international market. The Textiles Committee undertakes domestic market survey and brings out a report on “Market for Textiles & Clothing (MTC) every year through which estimates of domestic demand of textiles are published. The MTC-2017 is under print and has apart from estimating market size of textiles and clothing of $146.63 billion for 2016 contains projections for 2018 across several important products numbering around 140.
Chavan said: “The survey is a very time-consuming, worker-intensive activity and costs us somewhere around Rs 70 lakh to Rs 1 crore per year. But we are continuing this survey despite financial crunch so that the industry will be benefited. For instance, this year report has come out with surprising findings on certain products like ladies jeans, leggings, etc.,” said Chavan. In our subsequent editions, we are planning to diversify this product more specifically to estimate demand patterns on specific segments like women’s wear and men’s wear, made-ups, etc.,” he added.
Though so far, the Textiles Committee has not focused on the technical textiles, Chavan is hopeful that in future, there will be lot of potential for working with this nascent industry in this field.
Among the achievements of the Cotton Textiles Fund Committee (later known as Textiles Committee) since its formation, it deserves to be mentioned that substantial assistance was rendered to the establishments of various Textile Research Associations like ATIRA, SITRA, BTRA, NITRA and the formation of the Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council (Texprocil). For the first time, a scheme for the inspection of cotton textiles, especially for export was formulated and put into operation.
Chavan said: “At present, the Committee has the following verticals viz., Export Promotion and Quality Assurance (EP & QA), laboratories, market research, TQM division.
Acting as a facilitator, the Committee acts as ‘a one-stop service provider’ to the textile trade, industry and other stakeholders’ including State Governments. It is the only organisation in the country to provide HS classification of textile items, Star Rating of ginning and pressing factories and promoting hand-woven products through Handloom Mark scheme. The EP &QA Division of Committee is the India’s first ISO 17020 accredited third party inspection body in the country. With all these services to the trade and industry over the years, Textiles Committee celebrated its Golden Jubilee Year in 2013.