Vicky Shah & Sahil Shah
Director & Executive director respectively SKS Textiles Private Limited
New textile policy should not ignore synthetic fibres
From a humble beginning in 1982, Mumbai-based SKS Textiles Private Limited (SKSTPL) has evolved into a modern textile company under the leadership of chairman Sukanraj B Shah. SKS is into manufacturing cotton, giza, tencel and cotton-blended suiting fabric. A visionary, Shah has industry experience of more than 45 years and has made changes in the infrastructure to meet the changing demands and fashion trends.
His son Vicky Shah, with 20 years experience, joined the company in 1995. Sahil Shah, the youngest son, has been handling the company's operations since 2007. The company maintains its pace to deliver fabrics as per changing trends. The vertically-integrated set-up equipped with modern facilities makes fabrics of high quality and finish. Its clients include Raymond, Digjam, Arvind, Siyaram and D&J.
With the company gearing up to launch its IPO soon, the junior Shahs discuss the highs and lows of the Indian textile sector and the company's future plans.
What are the latest trends in the Indian textile industry?
The Indian textile industry has witnessed its fair share of progress and trends. These include the Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (TUFS) launched by the government in 1999 to make the Indian textile industry globally competitive and to reduce its capital cost; online marketing initiatives; setting up of cotton sales depot for small weavers and integrated textile parks; and global promotion of technical textiles and handloom exports.
What are the reasons behind low output and technological backwardness of the Indian textile industry?
As 80 per cent of this industry comes under the unorganised sector, it has not yet achieved much success. Reasons behind its low output, slow growth and technological backwardness include outdated machinery, lack of proper infrastructure, unavailability of skilled labour and competition from China and other neighbouring countries.
How is India faring compared to countries like Bangladesh and Vietnam that are growing rapidly in exports?
Bangladesh's garment exports exceeded India's in absolute terms in 2003. At present, Bangladesh exports more than $28 billion worth of garments, about $10 billion more than that of India. Even a late starter like Vietnam overtook India in 2011 and now exports garments worth $22 billion. These two nations have preferential access to the European Union and the US markets. Their exports growth rate has been 20 per cent annually against a meager 8 per cent for India.
The presence of cotton, whether in yarn, fibre, fabric or garments, is close to 70 per cent in India, which also reflects in our exports. Only 30 per cent is from synthetics and man-made fibres. The global fashion trend is the reverse, i.e. 70 per cent is from man-made fibres.
Another big factor is the overhang of excess capacity in the Chinese fibre and yarn sectors that results in a downward pressure on prices. In the global textile trade scene, India's share is a mere 5 per cent against China's 39 per cent. In the subsegment of synthetic fibres, India's share is just 2 per cent compared to China's 66 per cent. India has a rich mix of synthetic and natural fibres and yarns, including cotton, jute, silk, polyester and viscose, but it still remains a cotton-focused country.
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