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Hygiene & feminine care to drive growth in nonwovens
08
May '10
Dr Seshadri Ramkumar, Texas Tech University has given prognosis about the Indian technical textiles sector. In the recent past, India offered enormous excitement for the US and European technical textiles sector. They all eyed India as an immediate new market offering enormous opportunities. India's growth is expected to be around 8% in the years ahead and should be watched as a growth market. However, the landscape is not mature enough yet for the entire segment of the nonwovens and the technical textiles industry of the developed world to start having tremendous business opportunities. India's government and the textile industry are certainly optimistic for the growth in the technical textiles sector. This will be a welcoming sign for the US and European manufacturers who are eyeing on new growth markets. This article briefly will elaborate on the current textile industry scenario, need for diversification into nonwovens and technical textiles sector, policy schemes and where there are immediate opportunities.

Indian Economy and Growth Scenario
According to the recent Global Economics Prospects report by the World Bank, Indian economy is expected to grow at a rate of 7.5-8% during 2010-12. In addition, according to this report, FDI inflows are expected to grow due to India's efforts to relax investment limits in some sectors and the simplification of foreign direct investment procedures. This growth number was most recently echoed by the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh during his Nuclear Security Summit meeting with the US President Obama. An important observation from the Prime Minister's remark which will be of particular interest to the industry is that India encourages global free trade and is against protectionist approaches. This policy will help our industry to start dialogues with Indian companies for new joint ventures, investments and trade opportunities.

India's rising middle income population will fuel the domestic consumption of products such as hygiene and feminine care which will be the drivers for growth for the nonwovens and technical textiles (NWTT) industry. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) in its latest report, “The Asian Development Outlook 2010,” has stated that the strong domestic consumption and the growing investments will put India's economy in the growth trajectory. ADB emphasizes the importance of domestic consumption and infrastructural investments on the growth of Indian economy, meaning more opportunities for the technical textiles industry.

Status of the Indian Textiles Industry
India's textile industry is a conventional industry dominated by cotton. According to a recent report by the Ministry of Textiles, India, there are 1834 textile mills with an installed capacity of 37 million ring spindles, 489,718 rotors and 56,526 looms. Compared to the capacity of the conventional textile industry, the nonwoven roll good production is between 80,000 and 100,000 metric tons. Textiles industry, which includes the nascent technical textiles sector, contributes 4% to the GDP and 14% to the industrial production. The two main reasons which make the Indian textiles industry strong are: 1) export earnings and 2) employment opportunities. India's textiles industry employs some 35 million people directly and contributes 17% to the total export earnings of the country.

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