‘Brand India’ – the idea has almost taken its roots. Shouldn’t Indian textiles make headway in a positive direction and attract global buyer community?
This is one area where India needs to work hard. Campaigns like Incredible India have attracted attention of foreigners and NRIs too. India has following advantages, which is attracting the foreign investors:
•Integrated supply chain, skilled labour and quality consciousness
•Designing skills – vast pool of skilled labour and managers
•Diversity – textile heritage and design variety
•Focus on environment protection
I strongly believe that to be reckoned as an emerging textiles hub internationally requires clear strategies and concerted efforts on the part of both the Government and the industry. Unless both are complementary to each other, the task becomes little difficult. Harmony is one of the key ingredients. We need massive investments to bring the wide range of infrastructure facilities in the country to international standards. I need not reiterate the environment that the Government has created over a period of time to support and lift the sector during the crucial times. We have created the environs that are essential for growth of the industry in so far as policy initiatives are concerned. In addition, we are endeavouring to –
•Provide raw material support – so that there will not be problems of out of stock;
•Expand and develop testing and training centres – this will help establish standards and quality to the products;
•Attract FDI, which will bring the required technology and know-how;
•Promote usage of Technical textiles – by increasing end-consumer awareness, bridging the gap between consumer and manufacturer.
As I have already said, having realized that 60% of our exports are to the countries in the European Union and the United States, both hit by the economic slowdown, I shifted focus to the ‘Look East’ Policy. Nevertheless, we continue to concentrate on the United States and Europe, our traditional markets. We are seeing some signs of recovery in the US. But, in Europe, recovery may take a little longer than anticipated. In addition to the US and Europe, we will focus on the East. I led a delegation of exporters to Tokyo, USA and some European countries recently. We went at the right time and got a very good response from there. I am also trying to promote our textiles products in other untapped markets. We have to balance between the two. Besides, we are also focussing on conducting road shows in major and emerging markets abroad. Keeping this in view, we have planned Road Shows in seven European countries in coming months. The move is on and we shall make every endeavour to make this happen.
With its consistent growth performance and abundant cheap skilled manpower, there are enormous opportunities both for domestic and foreign investors to make investments in textile sector in India. India has most liberal and transparent policies in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) amongst emerging countries. 100% FDI is allowed in the textile sector under the automatic route. FDI in sectors to the extent permitted under automatic route does not require any prior approval either by the Government of India or Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The investors are only required to notify the Regional Office concerned of RBI within 30 days of receipt of inward remittance. Ministry of Textiles has set up FDI Cell to attract FDI in the textile sector, which is meant to provide assistance and advisory support to foreign companies in their endeavour.
Employment generation opportunities and skill development are two areas which need governmental intervention. What steps do you moot for developing both these critical areas that will trigger future growth of our textile industries?
In order for India to have double digit growth, attributes such as job creation, inclusive economic growth, infrastructure development and health care improvement are minimum requirements. To meet the skilled manpower shortage, the Ministry has devised an Integrated Skill Development Scheme, which envisages meeting the sectoral target of training 100 lakh persons by the year 2022, as laid down by the National Skill Development Policy. Possessing diverse raw material base and having a growing economy, the Indian market is an attractive destination for foreign capital. To tap the opportunity, we are taking steps to diversify Indian exports to new and emerging markets. In the Foreign Trade Policy 2009, twenty nine countries in Latin America, Africa and Oceania have been given special thrust under the Focus Marketing Scheme and Focus Market Scheme.
Contrary to global trends, Indian textiles industry is predominantly cotton based and the ratio of cotton to manmade fibre is 60:40, while it is reverse in developed countries. The issue has been engaging the attention of the Government and stakeholders, and on assuming charge I had announced the framing up of a National Fibre Policy in a time bound manner. We have set up a Working Group under the Chairmanship of Secretary (Textiles) to formulate the National Fibre Policy. The Group is examining ways & means to promote use of fibres equitably as to ensure balanced growth of the entire textiles chain keeping in view the future trends and the present consumption pattern both for domestic and export markets.
Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (TUFS) of this Ministry is a vital instrument for sustaining and improving the competitiveness and overall long term viability of the needy textile units. This year, we released subsidy of Rs.2,546 crore under the Scheme in August, 2009. Normally, the beneficiaries have to run around Banks and Government Departments to get the money, due to them. This is for the first time that such a large amount of subsidy has been released in a single tranche and the amount was credited to the bank accounts of beneficiaries in the record time of 72 hours. I am sure, this money, made available, will boost the growth of the sector in a big way. This is one of the remarkable achievements made possible after I took over the Ministry.
It is high time that we create a global identity through cutting edge “India designs”. Thus, the need is to open National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) centres to cater to the specific needs of traditional and emerging textiles clusters. There is a sustained demand for NIFT intervention from the textiles clusters across the country. NIFT has developed a vibrant relationship with leading international institutes and bodies in the field of fashion and these relationships foster cross fertilization of ideas and provide a tremendous net value addition to both the NIFT and as well as to the foreign institutions.
All these endeavours along with the ongoing and ensuing schemes of the Ministry of Textiles will open up tremendous opportunities for employment generation across the country. The skill development initiative will contribute significantly in rendering job placement for trained workforce. The stage is set and we are ready to take a quantum leap forward in the ensuing years to make Indian textiles a sunrise industry.####### Click here to view more interviews.
DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.