Mr Ramaswami, while welcoming you for the Face2Face talk, can we request a note from you on most memorable episodes from seven decades of your Group's corporate journey?
The most memorable episode was the experience of getting import license to import Air jet looms way back in 1979. As Air jet was new to India and even IIT Delhi did not have it, my request was referred to the textile commissioner. He referred it to SITRA and ATIRA. SITRA felt that it was too premature to think of air jets in India and felt it will be not before 2000 that Air jets become relevant in India. ATIRA felt it was a waste of money and it would be wiser to modernize plain looms by adding warp stop motions and Electronic weft feelers. It took several meetings at Bombay; Ahmedabad and Coimbatore before I was given the license to import one loom for trial.
That is how the first Air jet loom entered India in the year 1979.
Quite encouraging anecdote! So, what is your opinion on today’s state of textile industry in India and abroad?
The textile Industry in India is fairly matured and all set to make a giant leap forward; World over textiles is a migratory industry moving steadily from high cost of production countries to lower cost of production countries.
When we talk about global markets, we see China as an undisputed leader in textiles and clothing though it imports its cotton requirements, whereas, India enjoys self sufficiency in Cotton, still, we see it facing a lot of cotton issues hampering smooth growth in textiles and clothing. Isn’t it? You are on the board of Texprocil also, how would you like to comment on this?
In India for some reasons the textile Industry is not yet looked upon as an Industry that can remove large scale unemployment by the government; whereas in China, it is looked upon as an employment providing industry. This approach of the government is the big differentiator. China relaxes labour rules and increases incentives during periods of economic slowdown and periods when there is unemployment; tightens the labour rules and reduces incentives when economy picks up or unemployment drops. India on the other hand looks at (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act)NREGA as the solution provider. I will not blame the government for it, but take the blame as created by the Industry. The only blunder done by the government was giving incentives for cotton traders with retrospective effect putting 500 to 600 crores in the hands of a few traders. Hopefully such mistakes do not happen in future. This mistake made our cotton available to mills in China and Bangladesh cheaper by 10% and ruined our exports. An anti national act to put it very mildly!
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.