Interview with Kalraj Mishra

Kalraj Mishra
Kalraj Mishra
Union Minister for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises
Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises

Textiles industry can be developed only through MSME's
Textiles and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are closely linked, with the backbone of the textiles industry being made up by the countless MSMEs scattered across the country. For the textiles industry to remain healthy, it is imperative that textile MSME units are not only stable, but are able to scale up operations and become more efficient as well. Capacity-building and empowerment are key elements here, and the two ministries of textiles and MSME need to work in tandem. Union minister for MSME, Kalraj Mishra, speaks to Richa Bansal about textiles and MSMEs, and how plans are being rolled out on the ground.

There was a tripartite MoU signed between the ministries of textiles and MSMEs along with National Textile Corporation (NTC) to build a technology centre in Kanpur. What is the progress this far?

Kalraj Mishra (KM): We had an agreement with NTC regarding buying land, because a lot of land is available for textiles in Kanpur-which is lying unproductive. Kanpur used to be called the Manchester of India, but now the condition is bad. So we thought if we could get some support from the Technological Centre System Programme and set up a technology centre or tools room, then it would be extremely beneficial from the industry point of view; and the industry can have access to skilled manpower for high-technology and normal technology. This will benefit nearby industries too. I am grateful to the NTC, for providing approximately 8.6 hectare land for the same. We did a puja recently. We would start building the technology centre there. The land has been made available to us on lease and at a very low cost.

What kind of activities will be held at the centre?

KM: Hosiery, auto (mobile), engineering-related industries are there in the area. Hence, focus will be on these industries and latest technologies and machines will be made available. Along with that, there are courses like B. Tech and M. Tech, B.Sc and MBA for skill development. The duration of the courses will vary-6 months, 1 year and 2 year courses. There will be an institute along with hostel facilities. There will be a special area designated to machines for receiving hands-on training. The centre will provide technological upgradation and provide information on the latest technologies. There will be common facility centres too. Kanpur is an industrial hub for leather, agriculture, automotive and textiles. The latest technology in all these fields will be made available there. There will also be a research and development centre. New innovations in the field will also be available there.

The leather industry in Kanpur is languishing. What is being done in this regard?

KM: The leather and hosiery industries are not doing well. We have taken initiatives to upgrade and revamp these industries. One of those is to provide technical assistance and at the same time equip the industries with technologies to make them environment-friendly. The PM has stressed on skill development through Skill India and along with that 'zero defect and zero effect' attitude for quality-safe technology. We also aim to work towards (new) industries where there is no pollution. 'Zero liquid discharge' is one such technology. We also plan to work towards recycling polluted water.

You asked about the leather industry; we have decided to provide training for the leather industry too. In Agra, we plan to set up a tools room. We have opened institutes related to leather in Agra. We plan to provide similar training available in Kanpur as well.

What activities are you planning for the textiles industry?

KM: We plan to impart training in the field of textile engineering. Textile engineers today follow the same education process that was prevalent years ago. But we aim to provide training using latest technology. Technological developments are taking place at a fast pace nowadays. Advanced and latest technologies being used in the textiles industry will be brought to the centres for training purposes so as to improve the state of affairs in the textiles sector.

Textile industries in the West are replacing manpower with robotics, which is the latest technology being used. Have we in India moved in the direction of implementing robotics? On one end we are training youth and on another we plan to bring robotics into the textile sector, will this lead to redundancy?

KM: Robotics and skilled manpower can be thought of in two ways. The competition in the global market exists in terms of manufacturing. We have a National Manufacturing Competitiveness Programme. Design clinic technology is one of the many components of the programme. It focuses on developing the technology based on the design so that we can compete and deliver better in the global market. The other one is lean competitiveness technology. If lean technology is implemented effectively, then the quality can be maintained, and it can lower costs too. Lean technology requires proper planning and allocation of resources. In recent times, when everything is automated, lean technology is important. This is the technology where robots are being used.
Where skilled manpower is unavailable, robots are being used. Skilled manpower and robots have different requirements. A confrontation between the two is not possible. Keeping all this in mind, the main aim of our technological centre is to provide the latest technology in the fields of textiles, hosiery, leather for training skilled manpower along with common facilities, besides empowering innovations based on research and development.
Published on: 03/10/2016

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

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