(Column by Dwijendra Kumar, a fashion journalist)
In a major announcement made during Budget 2021 speech, Modi government has unveiled its plan to launch 7 mega textile parks on lines of China and Vietnam.
Spread over 1,000 acres each, these mega textile parks would boost productivity, increase competitiveness, ensure better quality control and provide world standard facilities to India’s highest employing textiles and apparel industry.
This is in addition to 52 such parks already sanctioned in the past as also Production Link Incentives Schemes. The objective is to positioning India’s Textile, Apparel and Accessory industries as world class fully integrated, manufacturing and exporting segment.
According to estimates, over one crore people are employed in the approximate 150 billion dollars textile and apparel industry. Providing additional facility is aimed at doubling the size of the industry to 300 billion US dollars by 2025-26.
Currently, India is facing tough competition from smaller countries like Bangladesh and Vietnam which are getting duty free access to US and European Nations markets. Further, multinationals are entering country’s premium apparel market in absence of stiff competition from domestic manufacturers.
So it was imperative that government provide world class infrastructure facilities for textile players in India to bring down per unit production cost.
As textile parks would ensure availability of everything related to textiles and apparels including accessories used in finished products at one place, domestic manufacturers and exporters would now prefer to buy raw materials to finished products from local players and their dependence on imports would be minimised.
Sourcing all materials at one place and availability of skilled and unskilled labour locally would further cut production and transportation costs too on part of manufacturers.
Research and Development laboratories to be established at these parks would bring in value addition and versatility to the product range. Indian manufacturers and exporters may therefore be able to target premium, high-end world apparel market. All these would lead to attract local and foreign investments in the industry, so important for realising the target of USD 300 billion market.
Currently, India’s contribution in global exports in textile and apparel field is about five per cent only. So there is a huge possibility in this segment, backed up by availability of raw materials in plenty and skilled labour in high number.
At domestic level, India is significantly populated by children and young people who may constitute approx 70 crore and this is the segment which requires constant supply of products in the market from garment manufacturers.
Growth in disposable income is another reason why we have high hopes from country’s textile and apparel segment. Doubling the size of market may not double employment but at least add 25 per cent more jobs to this labour intensive segment.
Hence, approximately 25 lakh may get directly or indirectly employed in the industry which may include both high paid and low paid jobs.
(Disclaimer: Views expressed in the article are of the author)