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Cover Story | October 2014

Weaving new hopes in production, export fronts

Began as an offshoot of the textile industry, the Indian textile machinery industry, today, is reckoned as one of the largest sectors in the country. The roots of the textile engineering industry (TEI) goes back more than eight decades. Newer opportunities are knocking at the doors of TEI in terms of growing demand of textile machinery in the domestic market and also exports to the neighbouring countries.

In brief, the Indian TEI seems to offer the modern technically advanced machinery for spinning, weaving and processing sector as well as simple machinery required in ginning and pressing industry. However, still the performance of the Indian textile machinery industry is far from satisfactory. Competition from high-tech machinery of European and south-east Asian countries is a real challenge to the very existence of this industry.

But, better days seem to be on the way. The positive growth of 15 per cent achieved in the value of production of the TEI during 2013-14 raised the hope for a sustained growth during 2013-14. The installation of the new government appears to have instilled confidence in the industry.

According to the Textile Machinery Manufacturers Association (TMMA), the total domestic demand for textile machinery during 2013-14 was Rs 11,923 crore of which imported machinery constituted Rs 7,528 crore. Supplies from the domestic machinery industry amounted to Rs 4,395 crore, aggregating 37 per cent of the total demand. As can be seen from the chart on demand appears in the report that the bulk of the demand was met through imports. The capacity marginally increased from Rs 9,100 crore to Rs 9,350 crore.

The health of the textile industry has improved due to easy availability of the raw material at a reasonable cost and better export market. Though the textile industry had preferred to meet the export challenges, as well as growing domestic demand however, the delay in the introduction of RR TUFS and its procedural bottleneck adversely affected the investments. The non-availability of 30 per cent MMS scheme to the domestic manufacturers of shuttleless looms hampered the development of high tech shuttleless loom.

Production, exports and imports
The production of the TEI recorded a growth of 15 per cent viz. Rs 6,480 crore as against Rs 5,650 crore achieved during the previous year (assessment based on the survey report of the Textiles Committee). This was quite encouraging. The substantial increase in production of spinning machinery was responsible for such growth. It was expected that spinning machinery sector might increase their production further during 2014-15. The present machinery sector as well as synthetic machinery sector were doing quite well and hoping for better growth during 2014-15. In weaving sector particularly in the shuttleless loom category the growth was nil due to uncertain situation created by the unfavourable MMS Scheme under the RR TUFS. This has adversely affected the domestic development of high tech shuttleless loom under the Government funded project.

The export of textile machinery to the third world countries increased substantially. The association is making all out efforts to help the TEI to increase its exports further. On the basis of the data furnished by the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence & Statistics, Kolkata, the estimated export performance during 2013-14 was Rs 2,085 crore as against Rs 1,512 crore achieved during 2012-13. Private data source also indicated the current export to be of Rs 2,433 crore as against Rs 1,493 crore during the previous year.

The continuation of import of second hand machines by the textile industry specifically in the weaving sector was always a cause for concern. The subsidy available on such outdated/used and cheap machinery for the purpose of modernisation of the textile industry had been encouraging such imports.

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