Interview with Ujwal Lahoti

Ujwal Lahoti
Ujwal Lahoti

What are the reasons for low fabric exports in the last few years?

In the international market, there is a higher demand for processed fabrics whereas the processing sector is facing various issues in zero discharge, and hence widening the demand-supply situation. In the absence of continued and large-scale investment in the processing sector, there is a declining trend in the export of fabrics. If the textile clusters are developed along the coast with marine discharge facilities, export of fabrics will increase manifold in a short span of time.

What measures do you suggest for increasing the exports of textiles?

Early finalisation of all the pending FTA/RTAs, renegotiation of Indo-Korea CEPA, extending MEIS to export of yarn, extending ROSL to fabric export will lead to improved competitiveness of Indian exporters and thereby increase in export.

What is your take on the 5 per cent ROSL benefit on fabrics?

The council continues to represent to the government by providing all required details and justification to extend ROSL on fabrics as well. We sincerely plead with the government to favourably consider our representations.

The Indian logistics sector has been granted infrastructure status. How will this help the Indian textiles industry?

This would help improve seamless movement of textile products in the entire value chain across the country. The textiles sector in India has a unique need for zig-zag movement of goods at every stage of conversion. For example, the cotton fibre transported from west India to south India and yarn transported from south India to the west and north India for conversion into grey fabrics and again transported to Gujarat and other parts of India for processing and again transported to different parts of India for conversion into value-added home textiles and  garments. The introduction of GST and e-way bill will improve logistics considerably and the textiles industry will be able to improve its competitiveness by cutting down on lead time.

What are your views on the recently launched SAATHI?

The powerloom sector in India is predominantly an unorganised sector, and has a large number of micro and small units which produce 84 per cent of the total cloth (including woven and knitted) in the country. The SAATHI scheme will provide energy-efficient powerlooms to small and medium units at no upfront cost and repay in 4-5 years in instalments. The unit owner is not required to allocate any upfront capital cost to procure these equipment, and nor do they have to allocate additional expenditure for repayment as the repayments are made from the savings that accrue as a result of higher efficiency equipment and cost savings.  
Power Tex India, under which plain powerlooms are attached with process control equipment, will also lead to higher productivity, better quality and more than 50 per cent additional value realisation.  

These initiatives by the ministry of textiles will encourage more investment in the weaving sector and substantially improve efficiency in fabric manufacturing, particularly in the MSME sector. 

What can you predict about prices of cotton in the international market in the near future?

International cotton prices in the near future will be slightly higher than prices in India owing to bettor output estimated in India compared to other cotton producing countries. We do not expect any major volatility in the prices in the near future.

What are the latest technological advancements which have helped the cotton industry/sector?

Continuous modernisation, technology upgradation and automation are helping the Indian textiles and clothing sector to perform better in the past few years. Spinning mills are investing in fully automated production system from blowroom to TFO with minimum handling by humans. Application of artificial intelligence in weaving and stitching will lead to higher productivity, zero defects and very low wastage of material at every stage of production process.

How is the cotton arrival compared to this season's production target?

It is reported that 48 per cent of this season's cotton has already arrived in the markets and the overall output for the year is estimated at 377 lakh bales, 9 per cent higher than last year.

Any plans for the various cotton institutes - both research and organisational within India to join hands to push /bring in more sustainable means of production and processes?

Sustainable production has become a common norm in the entire value chain, mainly because of various compliances stipulated by the importers/retail chains. Some of the retail chains are planning to focus more on products made of recycled cotton and many chain stores are joining together to implement BCI, etc, are leading to the involvement of various agriculture research institutions in working towards a sustainable production process. (RR)
Published on: 09/01/2018

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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