The CII Centre of Excellence for Competitiveness recently organised a Conclave in Mumbai on "Business Excellence in Textile& Apparel Industry - Competitiveness Strategy for Growth in Uncertain Times" which aimed to identify challenges faced by the Indian textile and apparel industry and find solutions through deliberations at a single day event.

Union textiles minister Smriti Irani while addressing CII Texellence 2018 said that the textile sector has attracted up to 27,000 crore investments since the announcement of incentive package last year, and is likely to get more investment from international and domestic markets going forward. The government in June last year announced a 6,000 crore special package for the textile and apparel sector, which included several tax and production incentives.

"As per the record of textile commissioner's office, an investment of up to 27,000 crore has come in, and we are hopeful that with the government's intervention, we will get more investments both from the international and domestic markets," Irani said while addressing the CII Texellence 2018, an annual textile conclave organised by the apex industry body CII.

Speaking at the Conclave, RD Udeshi, conference chair and president-Polyester Chain, Reliance Industries Ltd., emphasised on the importance of technology and market access for the Indian textile and apparel industry. "We need international collaboration within the industry to learn what the world is doing," he said.

Udeshi also highlighted the need for skill development to generate more employment opportunities and friendly labour laws in the industry with a focus to make India a talent hub in textile and apparel arena. Through the Integrated Skill Development Scheme (ISDS), the textile and apparel industry is targeting to have 60-62 million skilled workers by the year 2022 through training and development.

"For every 1 crore investment in the garment manufacturing sector, the government will provide support/ subsidy of 60 per cent," textile commissioner, Government of India, Dr. Kavita Gupta said during the inaugural session. She also reiterated that the textile manufacturers need to take advantage of the various government schemes, subsidies and rebates which are available to boost and promote textile and apparel manufacturing. She also urged the industries' bodies to create clusters to streamline best practices for which the government is ready to support such initiatives.

While discussing various schemes offered by the government, Gupta pointed out the need for more research and development (R&D) initiatives by the industry players as the government is ready to provide support of up to 70 per cent.

Manu Kapur, president & CEO - Home Textiles, GHCL Ltd., enabled in-depth discussions with the industry leaders and discussed various thought provoking topics including the core values and concepts of business excellence in textile and apparel industry, role of digital solutions for transformation of the industry, operational excellence, to name a few.

SK Khandelia, president, Sutlej Textiles & Industries Ltd., focused on the ability to sustain business by focusing on both the environment and social aspect. He emphasised on the fact that while it is important to comply with the regulations, it is equally important to have goodwill of the community. "Customers today have started to move from mindless consumption to mindful purchase," he said while emphasising that the demand for sustainable and environment friendly products is growing. According to him, waterless dyeing/processing will soon become a reality. He further stated the importance of technology given the growing need for traceability in the supply chain.

"Giving customers a unique experience while shopping has become essential and important in order to survive in the apparel industry these days," said Thomas Varghese, business head-Domestic Textiles, Overseas Spinning and Acrylic Fibre, Aditya Birla Group. He also emphasised on the uses of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and VR (Virtual Reality) for "Virtual Try Rooms"-a technology which allows customers to try various outfits and dresses without trying them on physically.