INDIA: Technical Textiles - 20% growth is likely

Smt. Rita Menon (Secretary Textiles, Government of India)

Technical Textiles is the sunrise sector of the textile industry in India, with a current market size of Rs 57,000 crores and a growth rate poised to take off from the present 11%, to almost 20% during the 12th Five Year Plan.  India has all that it takes to harness this technology oriented sector, and provides a huge opportunity, both as an investment destination, and as a robust market for technical textiles. Fully cognizant of the potential of this sector, the government has, in the past 3 years, taken many initiatives like implementing the Scheme for Growth and Development of technical textiles (SGDTT), inclusion of major machinery for technical textiles under modified TUFS for 10% capital subsidy etc. A Baseline Survey of the Technical Textiles Industry was successfully completed, and more than 60 awareness programmes were organized across the country between 2007-08 and 2010-11. 4 Centres of Excellence (COEs) namely BTRA Mumbai for Geotech, SASMIRA Mumbai for Agrotech, NITRA Ghaziabad for Protech and SITRA Coimbatore for Meditech were established as a one stop shop for Technical Textiles with financial assistance of Rs 43.31 crores.

In the last three years the Indian Textiles Industry has witnessed several transitions from a global recession to unprecedented price volatility. During the two years of the economic slowdown, the industry showed significant resilience in making a rapid turnaround, assisted by a series of fiscal stimuli and Plan Schemes of the Government. The Restructured Technology Upgradation Funds Scheme (TUFS) has now been allocated Rs 15,404 crores, almost double of the Rs 8000 crores originally approved for the 11th Five Year Plan. The Scheme for Integrated Textiles Parks (SITP), which has been designed to address India's need for developing world class infrastructure, has attracted green field investments of Rs. 3500 crores and generated employment to 3.5 lac textiles workers. The Integrated Skill Development Scheme (ISDS) of the Ministry of Textiles aims at training 26 lakh persons over a 5 year period, to address the skill gaps in various segments of the textiles value chain. Several other schemes of the Textiles Ministry are witness to the Government's commitment to the growth of this sector.

However, in spite of Government taking these initiatives, there remained certain critical areas and gaps which needed to be addressed. Keeping this in mind the Ministry of Textiles, early this year, have launched the Technology Mission on Technical Textiles (TMTT), with two mini missions for five years, with an outlay of Rs. 200 crore.  Under Mini Mission-I, four additional Centres of Excellence in the field of Non-Wovens, Sportetch, Indutech and Composites have been approved with facilities like incubation centers, recurring expenditure support for hiring international experts, etc. These are: DKTE College Ichalkaranji Maharashtra in Non-Wovens; PSG College Coimbatore in Indutech; ATIRA Ahmadabad in Composites and ICT Mumbai in Sportech. The existing COEs will also be upgraded in line with the new ones.

Mini Mission-II will focus on "Support for domestic & export market development of technical textiles". In an innovative strategy to assist new investments in the sector, support will be provided for business start up, particularly to the MSME sector by the Government. Incentives will also be provided for Contract Research; for Buyers seller meets and for participating in international exhibitions/seminars on technical textiles. Recognizing the critical need for regulatory standards in areas like Meditech for health and hygiene; Geotextiles for road and other infrastructure; protech for Industrial Safety standards, etc. studies/surveys for exploring the feasibility of implementing regulatory measures will also be undertaken through this mission.

The Ministry of Textiles is in touch with five major user Ministries i.e. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Defence & Ministry of Agriculture for introducing regulatory measures for use of technical textiles. The Office of Textile Commissioner has constituted a committee to formulate standards for Agrotextiles, Geotextiles, Protective textiles & Medical textiles. Standards are being prepared by the committee and thus far, five reports, containing more than 14 draft standards on the above segments have been sent to BIS for approval and notification. BIS is in the process of finalizing the standards.

Recognizing Technical textiles as a thrust area, all major machinery required for technical textiles has been placed in the concessional custom duty list of 5 percent. Further, under the Restructured TUFS, specified technical textile machinery has been provided with an additional benefit of 10 percent capital subsidy in addition to 5 percent interest reimbursement.  So far, 487 units have been registered with the office of the Textiles Commissioner as technical textile manufacturing Units for availing the Capital subsidy under TUFS, with a total investment of Rs. Rs. 2550 crores. Specified technical textile products are also covered under Focus Product Scheme. Under this scheme, exports of these products are entitled for duty credit scrip equivalent to 2% of FOB value of exports.

The Ministry also provides a wide opportunity for dovetailing initiatives in the Technical Textiles sector with its other Schemes. Under the Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks (SITP), the Government provides assistance of up to Rs 40 crores for creating the infrastructure of these parks. Technical Textile units can be set up in any such park, or can come together as a separate park. There are around 25 units engaged in manufacture of technical textile products like, Canvas fabric, Geotextiles & Medical textiles etc Jaipur Texweaving Park, Mundra SEZ Textile & Apparel Park Limited and Gujarat Eco. Textile Park.Under the Integrated Skill Development Scheme (ISDS) of the Ministry of Textiles, 22,000 persons will be trained in technical textiles during 2010-11 & 2011-12, with a financial outlay of Rs. 18.30 crore.

There are many units which are investing aggressively in technical textiles like M/s Welspun India Ltd. who are setting up a new project for speciality products with an investment of Rs. 125 crore at Anjar, Gujarat; M/s Alok Industries Ltd. has firmed up its plan to invest close to Rs. 200 crore in technical textile manufacturing. The National Textile Corporation (NTC) is considering investments in the field of Meditech and Geotech.  All in all, the opportunities are enormous, and I would invite the investors to tap into this huge market. Facilitating a common platform and need for bringing together investors, users, and policy makers would go a long way in instilling confidence in the minds of all stakeholders.


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Added: October 19, 2011 Source: Agencies
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