It is good to see that the recent visit of the stalwarts of the industry to the PMO office has borne fruits. Seems that the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister, both have listened carefully to the industry, and for the first time ever, the textile industry has been specifically mentioned for the benefits that will enhance its competitiveness. From a strong thrust on technical textiles to reimbursement of taxes digitally, the budget is very progressive.
The focus on skill development continues and the announcement of Rs 3,000 crore for skill development in the current budget will enhance the employability of people who do not have access to proper education or employment opportunities in other industries. The textile and garment industry is amongst the largest employment generating industries in the country. As per official data, 1.14 lakh people have already been trained under skill development scheme for textiles. The fresh thrust will support the expansion and investment opportunities.
Also, the initiatives taken for start-ups are noteworthy. An eligible start-up having turnover up to Rs. 25 crore, is allowed deduction of 100 per cent of its profits for three consecutive assessment years out of seven years if the total turnover does not exceed Rs. 25 crore. In line with the direction that the country is taking, we, at ASW 2020, are dedicating a separate start-up zone to provide new innovative companies a platform to reach out more people.
The move for digital refund of duties and taxes of centre, states and local bodies to exporters from this year will ease the process of refunds and increase liquidity for business. Another interesting proposal that will have long-term impact on the industry is the proposed outlay of Rs. 1,480 crore, spread over four years for a National Technical Textile Mission with the aim to cut down imports. This is the need of the hour, as there is no doubt that moving forward, smart garments are going to dominate fashion retail.
StitchWorld is already clued in, and the lead story this issue is on ‘Smart Garment’. The category has been considered quite a niche commodity and has not been able to reach mass consumers. It is only recently that the demand for the smart garment is rising, but the quick growth is still hindered from mass adoption because of delicate sensors that, the industry believes, can’t sustain sweat, multiple washing and extreme temperature.
We have talked to some of the pioneers of the smart wearable industry to know the feasibility of such clothing for a large population. We have also given place to some niche smart garment companies as well as mass smart garment products to help our readers understand the latest progress of the industry in this area.
Further, in an exclusive interview with Karsten Newbury, Chief Strategy and Digital Officer, Gerber Technology, we also delved deep into innovations done by the company in recent times, its strategies to tap potential market and the effects of rapidly changing market landscape. Since retail technology in fashion is a major concern area for StitchWorld, we covered cashless stores and their functioning in detail.
The whole industry, and we at StitchWorld in particular, are stunned by the sad demise of Luciano Sardini, Founder, IMA Spa, Italy. He was a visionary leader in true sense… I had the opportunity to meet him a few times and he always came out as a calm and composed person and always smiled his way through any tough situation. May God rest his soul in peace!