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I strongly feel that more investments in weaving and processing should be encouraged...
G V Aras, Director of A.T.E Enterprises Pvt Ltd speaks about the Indian textile markets as he converses with Fibre2Fashion Correspondent Manushi Gandhi.
A.T.E Enterprises Pvt Ltd offers services like manufacturing, marketing, pre-sales consultancy, sales, distribution, after-sales-services. The company makes a wide range of textile machinery and accessories across the textile value chain along with a comprehensive range of utilities. It provides equipment, customized solutions and packaged solutions, including turnkey projects and services, in the domains of: treatment, reuse and management of water, waste water and sludge, pumps, comfort cooling and sensible cooling of air; energy solutions. It makes machines which are efficient in printing processes i.e. in the areas of gravure, flexography, web offset and sheet fed offset printing.
Today, A.T.E. is the biggest textile machinery supplier across the textile value chain in India with sales turnover of around Rs. 1000 Crores.
G V Aras is the Director of A.T.E since May 2008. He began his career at A.T.E. as Sales Engineer in 1981. Having presented many technical papers at international forums, Mr. Aras is also a member of Member of Institution of Engineers (M.I.E.). He has done post graduate diploma in "Marketing Management" from Bombay University in 1984 and prior to this he was conferred M.Tech. by Bombay University in 1982.
Machines made in European countries have always enjoyed special status. What’s the status of made in India textiles machines in the global market?
In textile machinery, European textile machine makers have been dominating because of the technology edge. While in the Indian textile machinery sector, in spinning we have good manufacturers who are able to export outside India as well and compete well against others. However comparatively the position of Indian manufacturers in weaving and processing machinery is not so good barring some few companies. In fact there are some successful joint ventures with European machine makers in India but they have restrictions on exports from the JV partners.
Being a machine manufacturer in India what are the challenges faced by your company and how do you try to overcome those? Do you feel there is scarcity of resources in the country?
The spinning sector has been getting benefit of consistent investments over the last few years. However the situation for other sectors is not that good. There has been definite imbalance in the textile value chain. In view of the volumes in weaving and processing, European machinery makers are not keen in making the machines in India. The biggest challenge for the machine makers has been the volatility of the textile business undergoing cycles of ups and down, making it difficult for the machinery makers to plan. The special incentives like TUFs available to the textile industry is not available for the textile machinery industry. Traditionally there has not been a strong vendor base in India to support machinery building unlike in the country like China. This obviously makes cost of manufacturing higher. Even local R & D efforts are far lower affecting indigenous technology development.
There is no scarcity of resources as such but right deployment of these resources is a concern. First thing required is to manufacture Rapier or air jet looms with European or Japanese technology in India since weaving investments are on increase now. While spinning capacities in the country are quite modern the real need is to modernize further processes like weaving and processing so that the country can benefit in terms of 'value addition’. We need to have more joint ventures in India for textile machinery manufacturing so that technology transfers can happen fast.
Over the time the Indian rupee has been through a lot of fluctuations and had reached at a very low level (i.e. 1 USD = 61 Rs.). Has this affected your business anyway?
The machinery imports happen mainly in Euro in our case as most of our principals are from Europe. The depreciating Rupee certainly has affected our imported machinery business as due to currency imbalance the equipment cost for the buyers went up by nearly 10 to 12% over the last more than a year, without any benefit to the manufacturers.
With the change in government in India, what more do you expect to happen in the textile / apparel industry?
We are certainly hopeful for better days for the industry. In Gujarat, there have seen many new initiatives taken by the government in the near past which helped the textile industry to bounce back. We hope that the textile sector will certainly get new government’s attention due to its employment and export potential and contribution to the GDP. I strongly feel that more investments in weaving and processing should be encouraged while garment sector needs to have larger capacities under one roof in order to be competitive. From Government we need to have a comprehensive textile policy covering all the sectors of the value chain for increasing India’s share in the global textile trade. With right strategies and support from the government, India’s share in the global textile trade can surely be scaled up in the future.
Do you feel that there has been an increase in awareness about sustainability and eco- friendliness among the textile and garment manufacturers? Can you explain this with reference to sales of your clean technology over the last two or three years?
There is gradual increase in the awareness about the environmental issues in the industry. However it’s still quite low. In India unless we have a crisis situation we do not act. Same is the case for pollution related issues. When the court strike down an order to close down processing units in Tirupur and Tarapur that the industry had a wakeup call. Very few units in the industry have proper effluent treatment plants, while most of them somehow are able to manage so far without them thus polluting the environment in all respects. Our waste water business is definitely growing well but looking at the huge market gap it could be far bigger than one can imagine. It’s a fact that far more investments are needed in this critical area of effluent treatment by the industry before it is too late.
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