Interview with Harminder Sahni

Face2Face
Harminder Sahni
Harminder Sahni
MD
Wazir Advisors Pvt. Ltd.
Wazir Advisors Pvt. Ltd.

Why is Indian textile and apparel industry an attractive destination for foreign investors?

Indian textile industry has hardly seen any interest but apparel branding and retail has seen lot of activity and investment. The interest in apparel sector is mainly due to rising incomes and younger population. International players see lot of potential in Indian market wherein younger, richer and urbanizing Indians will aspire to wear fashion same as their counterparts in developed world.

Do you think government support in facilitating foreign investment in the textile and apparel industry in India at present is satisfactory? How can government help in facilitating foreign investment?

Indian Government has always supported textile and apparel industry with favorable policies and interventions. However I feel that Government can do much more to attract FDI in this sector. Some of the challenges like land acquisition and labor laws are common to all sectors but specifically in case of textile and apparel, labor laws need to be looked at more critically due to seasonal nature of demand.

If you had to compare the Indian textile policies with textile policies of other major textile exporting countries like China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Turkey, etc., how would you rate the Indian textile policy? Please elaborate.

I would rate Indian policy in textile and apparel as quite competitive and supportive but overall industrial environment in India has been vitiated over last few years and that needs to be sorted out before we can see large scale investments and exponential growth in exports.

How do you find the textile industry in Africa? Is it growing fast? How do you see its future?

It is still in its infancy but I see lot of potential in countries like Kenya and Ethiopia.

What are the major flaws and shortcomings that you find in the management of textile industries in India?

One of major flaws is that the industry is not seen as a sunrise and attractive industry by professionals. Thus the industry fails to attract good talent and has largely remained promoter/family managed and it has its constraints in terms of innovation and growth. The other major shortcoming is that most of the industry owners diversify too soon to other lucrative industries instead of continuing to invest and grow their textile and apparel businesses. That's the reason we don't have many billion dollar businesses and still have a very fragmented industry.

What are the major drawbacks of the India as an investment destination for textile and apparel industry? Is it infrastructure, rising labor prices, or something more than these?

It is all of these but still industry continues to grow though at a slower place. It only proves that of these hurdles are removed the textile and apparel sector can lead India’s industrial revolution as it did of Western world almost 100 years ago.
Published on: 14/08/2014

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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