'Spinning new strategy on technical textiles a must' – Dr Ramkumar
Dr. Seshadri Ramkumar
An "International Workshop on “Technology & Marketing of Technical Textiles”, was organised by TecniTex Nonwovens Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore and Texas Tech University, USA in Coimbatore on July 3rd, 2009 with major support from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Institute of Textile Management. 170 delegates attended the event, the majority from the industry. The inaugural address was delivered by Dr. Seshadri Ramkumar, Associate Professor at Texas Tech University, USA and also Co-Chair, INDA-India Committee, USA and a global expert on technical textiles and nonwoven technology.
He said, “When the world is in the grips of austerity, this conference is going to talk about prosperity, i.e., growth opportunities in the textiles sector. At the time that this conference is convening here in Coimbatore, reports from international economic bodies and the Government of India project grim pictures on the economy of developed nations and export numbers from India. Recent report from the Government of India shows that the exports in May 2009 dipped by 29.2% from the corresponding month in 2008.
“More importantly, in May 2009, exports dipped by 18.4% compared to April 2009. It is predicted that major markets such as the US and Europe will have less than 1% GDP growth in 2010. The important indicator for our textile industry is to keep a watch on the “consumer savings rate”. Textile industry in developing countries such as India and China are very much dependent on this particular rate as it indicates the availability of disposable income which is being spent by the consumer.
“Recent data on the savings rate in the US show that this number is over 16%, which clearly indicates that consumers are not spending much on non-essential items. Why is this important and relevant to our Indian textile industry? Exports to Wal-Mart, JC Penny, Mother Care and other international retail outlets are predominantly durable goods such as 6 piece terry towel set, other home textile items and commodity textile garments. With the high unemployment rate at over 9.5% in the USA, exports to traditional export markets are becoming saturated.
“In addition, the comparative advantage India had in terms of labour is getting eroded due to the competition from countries such as Vietnam, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Simply put, the changing economic order, globalization effect and shift in the consumer behaviour in developed nations are forcing countries like China, India and Eastern European nations to detour and seek opportunities beyond traditional textiles sector. These mainly involve;
1.Searching for new markets.
2.Utilisation of the existing infrastructure to develop value-added and high performance textiles.
3.Seize new opportunities in technical textiles products and invest in innovations and research & development.
All these aforementioned points are basically enhancing the existing infrastructure capabilities and infusing incremental investments to grow the new sector within the umbrella of the textile industry i.e., the growing technical textiles sector”.