d) We may explore the feasibility of attracting textile machinery units in Europe and other developed countries to relocate their manufacturing plants in India. Since the textile industry has gravitated to the East, the machinery makers in Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain etc. may be interested to shift their operations nearer to the market.
e) Several manufacturing units from abroad are either already procuring or planning to outsource manufacturing to India in the coming years. The process can be accelerated if infrastructural facilities, power availability and plant efficiency are enhanced to global standards.
R&D for Technology
In the textile engineering sector, technology changes fast, every 5 years. The long term solution to technology change is the strengthening and expansion of research and development in this field.
The Indian textile engineering industry has established a Research & Development Centre at lIT, Powai, Mumbai which is functioning for the last 10 years. This centre has to be strengthened through support measures to make it vibrant to trigger textile engineering technology in the quickest phase of time.
There are several other research organizations, R&D units and textile technology institutes functioning in different parts of the country. These should be given encouragement to promote innovation, design, technology and research in textile machinery. There are a number of in-house R&D set up in many textile machinery units. It is important that these efforts are stimulated by offering tax breaks in the form of accelerated allowable expenses. Similarly TIFAC Schemes should be made more attractive by offering grants, larger concessions in interest rates and repayment terms.
India the manufacturing hub
India has the potential to emerge as the manufacturing hub of the world if the basic advantages are fully exploited. The old concept of joint ventures and collaborators may not be attractive to the foreign manufacturers. We have therefore to think afresh and offer mergers and accusations to get the new technology into India. This can be ensured if proper encouragement is given to the local textile engineering units to locate and transfer technology at affordable cost. Government should come forward with measures to support such efforts.
Mergers & Acquisitions
The other alternative is for foreign direct investments to be attracted in the textile engineering sector. At present import of machinery is of the order of about Rs.7000 crores per year. Most of the machines manufactured abroad are more expensive but the new technology offered by the foreign manufacturers induces the Indian textile industry to go for the same. If foreign direct investment can take place in the Indian economy to manufacture such machines, the cost will be cheaper, services better and delivery will be in time. It is therefore in our interest to offer inducements to the foreign manufacturers to establish or shift their plants to India as a long term measure.
The textile engineering industry expects to reach a production level of about Rs.10000 crores in a period of 5 years. This effort can be accelerated if the technology gaps in the weaving, finishing, knitting and other sectors are met through either mergers or acquisitions to get new technology or through foreign direct investment.
About the Author:
The author is the Vice Chairman of India ITME Society.