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Early to predict permanent return to good times – Mr JN Singh

Oct '09
Mr JN Singh
The International Conference on “Steering Mature Business: A Leadership Challenge to Textile Industry” organised by Fibre2fashion in conjunction with Ahmedabad Management Association, had a galaxy of eminent speakers sharing their views and providing solutions to the challenges facing and affecting the textile and apparel industry.

One of these was Mr JN Singh, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Textiles. Prior to his appointment as the Joint Secretary, Mr Singh served as the Textile Commissioner, Mumbai. He brings to the position rich and valuable experience relating to the sector. The textile ministry is expected to play a stellar role in the next few months in framing various policies related to the sector and experience of Mr Singh will go a long way in framing a policy, which is expected to provide a boost to the sector.

Mr JN Singh began his exemplary speech by presenting to the appreciative audiences statistical data related to the textile and apparel sector. He said the total textiles and apparel market totaled to US $62 billion, of which $40 billion constituted the domestic markets and the rest exports. Again of the domestic market, Textiles accounted for $10 billion and clothing $30 billion, while in the case of exports, textiles stood at $12 billion and apparels touched $10 billion.

He lamented the fact that as one moves across the value chain (fabric and garments), the installed capacities and production quality and quantity reduce, very precipitously and a majority of installed capacity is in the small scale which falls woefully short on economies of scale. He went on to list the advantages, which include; large domestic consumption; increasing attractiveness of the domestic Indian market; attractive sourcing destination for rest of the world; low labour cost and availability of managerial and technical talent for developing a cost effective, sustainable organization structure

India has labour cost competitiveness, when measured against most of the countries, except for Bangladesh, Vietnam and Pakistan, he said. But with all the advantages, was it possible to reap the rewards? Not completely, he said, instead he suggested that we should also put emphasis on trying to market the cultural and traditional textiles and handicrafts, distinctive to each region of India.

He spoke at length on the strengths of the domestic markets and which was projected and had the potential to reach $180 billion in 2035. With regards to exports he said from the current levels of $22 billion, it could reach $125 billion by 2035. He also spoke about the initiatives taken by the incumbent government to support the sector and assured all help to the industry in its holistic development.

He recounted the positive trends of the last few months, wherein, the period, April-July 2009, has shown a positive fabric production of 2.2 percent. The yarn production, initially in negative, has shown a positive trend in July, though marginal and though the overall export scenario is still bad, at least in synthetic sector, uptrend has been seen especially in July and August 2009. The excise revenue is up by 22 percent in August over July figures, indicating signs of industrial recovery.

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