Recent developments make me believe that the Government is finally taking serious note of the textile industry and there is a movement to look into the core issues that are ailing the growth of this huge employment generating sector.
It all started with the invitation of the PMO to senior industry members to meet the Prime Minister and discuss the issues directly, without interface of the textile ministry. Subsequent to the PMO meeting, many other meetings are happening in various parts of the country, led by the Textile Ministry to understand the problem areas as also the probable solutions. Most of the meetings are being held in manufacturing hubs and industry leaders are being invited to share their views.
There is no doubt that the industry has been going through very difficult times, facing severe challenges in the aftermath of demonetisation, GST implementation, economic slowdown across the globe, US-China trade war and more recently the Coronavirus in China. All or a combination of a few of these factors have had impact not only on the export industry, but also on the domestic market. While we all wait for the outcome of these intense industry interactions, many other indications are coming through which give a good positive vibe, a welcome change from the scenario a few months ago. Among the most important developments is the urgency that is obvious to finalise the long pending national textile policy.
The indication are that the new National Textile Policy would address all the structural issues hampering the industry by making the basic raw materials available at international price, encouraging scale of operation by developing 10 mega textile parks with over 1,000 acres of land closer to the ports, giving plug and play facilities including the necessary safeguard measures in the labour laws. Indicative of the possible impact, the textile and apparel export has grown 17.6 per cent from SEZ in the current fiscal. What’s noteworthy is that the SEZs have achieved the landmark of US $ 100 billion worth of exports in the full financial year of 2018-19, which was perhaps one of the most challenging years for exports.
Sensing the positivity, the recently concluded MP investment forum saw various apparel and textile firms committing to an investment of more than Rs. 3,200 crore in MP. Among those, Pratibha Syntex, a leading player of the region, will set up a textile park for MSME units in Indore at an investment of Rs. 100 crore in assistance with Apparel Export Promotion Council (APEC). In the meanwhile, the starting of change can also be seen in the recent Budget, wherein the Government has taken the much appreciated and bold decision to abolish the anti-dumping duty on PTA, thus creating a level playing field.
We all know that though the world garment trade has dipped heavily in favour of man-made fibre, in the ratio of 30:70, it is the reverse in India, which is largely dependent on home-grown cotton. As of today, cotton textiles account for 80 per cent of India production, largely due to the price advantage of the home-grown cotton, while it is only 20 per cent in the man-made fibre segment due to the price of PTA, which accounts for 70 per cent of the raw material to produce polyester.
With the removal of the anti-dumping duty on PTA, which varied from US $ 27 to US $ 160 per metric tonne, the industry is rejoicing, as this initiative has enabled the indigenous fibre and filament manufacturers to reduce the price considerably. We all are waiting with crossed fingers for all these developments to trigger what could be the cornerstone of change in the textile value chain!