Interview with Mr. Subodh Sapra

Mr. Subodh Sapra
Mr. Subodh Sapra
President, Polyester Sector
Reliance Industries Limited
Reliance Industries Limited

The latest development affecting the textile industry in general and polyester industry
An industry doyen, Mr. Subodh Sapra has had a long and fruitful 26-year association with ICI beginning with its polyester division, later moving to their Petrochemicals Division in UK. He then retuned to India as the company's Executive Director.

How has the budget changed the scenario for the textiles sector? And how will the change in the duty structure affect your company?

"The government is slowly realizing the importance of the textile industry. Being the second largest employer and contributing substantially to the nation's exports, this industry is atleast getting the attention it deserves. Measures like loans to processing units at international interest rates and capital subsidy, lower import duty for certain textile machinery, lower excise duty for polyester filament yarn and dereservation of knitting industry are some of the initiatives taken in the current Budget that have been welcomed by all. Many existing textile companies, which were previously investing in non-textile actitivies, are looking at fresh investments in textile capacities business now. Moreover fund managers have put the textile sector back on their radar after many years. With more and more investments in the pipeline, this sector requires increased supply of basic raw materials like polyester. Reliance has taken initiative once again, ahead of demand to expand polyester capacity by over half million tonnes. This capacity will be commissioned in the current financial year."

Is the textile industry ready for the post-quota regime? What is the growth potential you see in the new dispensation?

"India has a rich heritage in textiles. The textile industry was closely associated with our freedom movement as well. Over regulation had retarded the growth of industry in the last few years. Now that most of the hindrances that were preventing growth of the industry have been removed, textile industry is poised for quantum change in growth. Quota removal has added another important fillip to this growth. On a long-term basis, textile industry should grow by not less than twice the Indian GDP growth. "

What do you see as the key reforms needed to make the textiles sector globally competitive?

"The government has taken very positive steps to stimulate the textile industry in the last few years. There is some unfinished agenda, which I am confident the government recognizes and will deal with in the near future. There is a major disparity in taxation, particularly excise duties between cotton and man-made fibre products. There should be a level playing field for all textile raw materials. The government should allow the consumer decide the fibre of his choice. It should not influence his choice by imposing differential duties and others forms of taxation. Also the government should reform labour laws on a war footing. This will help especially the apparel sector to expand on the strength of temporary labour during any cyclical surge in orders."
Published on: 26/07/2005

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.

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