‘Technical Textiles is a high technology sunrise sector which has been steadily gaining ground in India. Technical textiles are functional fabrics that have applications across various industries including automobiles, civil engineering, and construction, agriculture, healthcare, industrial safety, personal protection, etc. Based on usage, there are 12 technical textile segments;

  • Agrotech, Meditech, Buildtech,
  • Mobiltech, Clothtech, Oekotech,
  • Geotech, Packtech, Hometech, and
  • Protech, Indutech and Sportech.’

From the world’s largest producer of polyester and historical producer of cotton fabrics from time immemorial, it is natural India wants to enlarge its contribution in high tech usage of textiles called technical textiles.

Technical textile accounts for approximately 13% of India’s total textile and apparel market and contributes to India’s GDP at 0.7%. There is a huge potential to fulfill a large demand gap as the consumption of technical textiles in India is still only at 5-10% against 30-70% in some of the advanced countries. Hence, garnering direct attention from prime minister Narendra Modiji and his Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), a National Technical Textiles Mission has been set up that aims at an average growth rate of 15-20% to increase the domestic market size of technical textiles to $ 40-50 Bn by the year 2024;

1. through market development, market promotion,

2. international technical collaborations, investment promotions, and

3. Make in India

4. The concerned web site for reference is

https://www.investindia.gov.in/siru/technical-textiles-future-textiles

Materials from the Ministry of Textiles has also been used to discuss the matter.

Let us analyze the growth enablers for this sector. Who are they?

  • Growth of Industry Sectors: A large number of technical textile products (tt products) are consumed by different industries, like automotive, healthcare, infrastructure, oil & petroleum, etc. With the expansion in these industries and huge export potential, the future of technical textiles is very bright.
  • Increasing Per Capita Income of Consumer: While India’s per capita income increased by 11.5% from US$ 969 in 2010-11 to US$ 1,499 in 2013-14, promising economic growth indicates corresponding trends for income growth.
  • Increasing adaptability and acceptance of products: Growing awareness about the superior functionality of technical textiles will encourage higher consumption of these products. With huge import substitution on the horizon, the investment potential is expected to rise.
  •  Government’s FDI promotion initiatives: To facilitate higher integration of technology into manufacturing processes and end products, the Government of India has allowed up to 100% FDI under automatic route for the technical textiles segment. Yes, as per expectations, efforts have borne fruit, as several international technical textile manufacturers, like Ahlstrom, Johnson & Johnson, Du Pont, Procter & Gamble, 3M, SKAPS, Kimberly Clark, Terram, Maccaferri, Strata Geosystems, have initiated operations in India. Many state governments also contributed their share.
  • Investment promotion schemes by Government: Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (TUFS), Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks (SITP), Coverage of major machinery for technical textile manufacturing under concessional customs duty list of 5% are worthy of mention. Recent efforts taken in North Eastern for Agro- textiles and Geotechnical textiles are equally worthy of appreciation.
  • Scope for import substitution and Scope for the introduction of regulatory norms in tune with developed nations widen the scope for wider usage and profit-making in the virgin industrial sector.
  • Four textile centers of excellence under technical textiles have been set up in Coimbatore, Mumbai And Ghaziabad.
  • Further, four more centers with excellence in non- woven, indutech, composites and sportech sectors have also been set up.

You would like to know what do these centers aim to achieve?

a. Facilities for testing and evaluation of products within the identified segments of Technical Textiles

b. Attaining national/international accreditation and collaboration with foreign institutes/laboratories

c. Resource Centre with I.T. infrastructure

d. Facilities for indigenous development of prototypes

e. Facilities for training personnel engaged in the technical textile industry

f. Knowledge sharing with stakeholders

g. Incubation Centre

h. Establishing product and process standards at par with international benchmarks or points of reference

What does any center help you with?

 Kindly go through all the details available, plan your venture after a brief stint of experience and visit one of these, attend any one of the training programs and enable setting up a unit in any of the parks set us nearer to your place of industry. Let us admit, with virtually no competition, assured growth and import substitution and strengthening of Indian industries, no venture capitalist/local financial institutions or state governments will dare to discourage your efforts.

Let us analyze the above information:

Not once but every day bulletproof vests, nylon ropes for auto parts, umpteen products under medical field like diapers, masks, medical equipment to tackle COVID 19 are in the news begging local industries to produce them and make money. A noteworthy one is a remarkable speed with which BEL, a public sector enterprise collaborated with industries to meet the urgent requirements of COVID 19 and now also exporting these items within a short span of time. A remarkable feat during the trying times of Pandemic.

Let me give you the ways to go about setting up an industry in any of the above products.

Question: Does any state government actually help in setting up a unit in the technical textiles sector?

We may mention the textile and apparel policy statement of the following states with an emphasis on capital subsidy for setting up of a unit, reimbursement of power cost up to 5 years, collaboration with the nearest IIT or any other center of excellence for guidance, incubation center experience, stamp duty exemption, reimbursement of product development costs etc.

  • Andhra Pradesh textile/apparel policy 2015-20
  • Tamil Nadu integrated textile policy 2019
  • Haryana textile policy 2019
  • Karnataka new textile and garment policy 2019-24
  • Gujarat textile policy 2018-23

Any entrepreneur may take the lead and contact the required authorities to get the details and start the work.

Some engineering professionals may ask me whether India had already set up infrastructure in technical textiles in the country?

Yes, I am quoting the information about the following cases.

Schemes

1. Scheme for Integrated Textile Park (SITP) To boost entrepreneurship by providing financial support and state-of-the-art infrastructure, the scheme was launched in 2005 and has recently been extended for the period between 2017-20.

2. The project cost will cover common infrastructure and buildings for production/support activities (including textile machinery, textiles engineering, accessories, packaging), depending on the needs of the ITP.

3. Each project will normally be completed in 3 years from the date of release of the first installment of government grants.

SITPs dedicated to technical textiles, namely,

  • Pallavada Technical Textiles Park (Tamil Nadu), Vraj Integrated Textile Park Ltd. (Gujarat),
  • Mundra SEZ Integrated Textile and Apparel Park Pvt. Ltd (Gujarat),
  • Gouthambudha Textile Park Pvt. Ltd (Andhra Pradesh) and
  • Great Indian Linen & Textile Infra Structure Co. (P) Ltd (Tamil Nadu) are functional in the country.”

Let me also invite your attention to the following information.

Amended Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (ATUFS)

Under ATUFS, technology up-gradation and CIS are offered to entities that are engaged in manufacturing textile and technical textile products under the guidance of TAMC (Technical Advisory Monitoring Committee).

  • Entities or segments that engage in the manufacturing of technical textiles are provided a CIS of 15% or an upper limit of $ 3 Mn.
  • If the eligible capital investment is 50% of the project cost, then it is 10% or an upper limit of $ 2 Mn.
  • The scheme is credit-linked and shall be availed on the term loan from a notified lending agency with a minimum of 50% of the total eligible machinery cost under the project.

I understand some ministries have already made much progress under this sector of technical textiles.

Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare (quoted from the government web site)

The regulatory and promotional mechanism and incentives have already improved the consumption of agro-based technical textile products such as shade net (material only), micro-irrigation pipe, insect net (material only), vermin bed, water carrying pipe, etc. The items already have a BIS standard in place and instructions/ notifications have been issued for the mandatory use by the Ministry.

Ministry of Railways

The Ministry of Railways is a major consumer of fire-retardant fabrics, used for seats and berth covers and geotextiles. The ministry has already conducted pilot tests for the usage of technical textiles under its various sub-divisions.

Application of geotextile in specific has already been done along the Udhampur- Jammu route, near the bridge on Tawi River. Geogrid was used for rehabilitation in a length of 6.4 Km in Kazipet-Ballarshah & Vijayawada-Visakhapatnam of South-Central Railway in 2006. Geogrid has also used in around 10 Km length on the Moradabad-Bareilly section for rehabilitation during the year 2010.

Does a question arise whether Railways, one of the largest in the world has performed as per our expectations?.

Ministry of Home Affairs

Ministry of Home Affairs is responsible for purchases for police and paramilitary which together are a major institutional buyer of protective textiles. Apart from the bulletproof jackets, it is necessary that the Ministry also brings flame retardant curtains, tents, upholstery, firefighter suits and gloves, protective workwear under the ambit of mandatory usage.

Frequently, we hear about the lack of bulletproof jackets and fire-retardant textiles for a variety of usage. MHA may take effective steps to avoid the import of these materials by local production.

We do hear about the growth of megaprojects in other countries as per details given below:

1. Ethiopia: Bole Lemi and Hewassa Textile Park with plug and play infrastructure and enough financial incentives like 100% income tax-free income for exports for 6/8 years, a lot of loans for setting up and for exports special incentives, zero customs duty for imports of material for exports, etc.

2. China: 38 major textile clusters and 48 major apparel clusters with closer access to major ports. Simply the best facilities to perform.

3. Prato – the largest textile center in Europe with the Capri-knit wear cluster, 21% of Italian industries nearby with USD 1.5 Billion of annual sales, an additional advantage of the best human resource talents, the best machinery manufacturers, and nearer to ports.

I would like to quote the Indian example of a mega textile park of Visakhapatnam as per the following technical details:

Brandix India Apparel City (BIAC), Visakhapatnam

BIAC is promoted by Brandix Apparel Co. as a 1000-acre textile park with world-class infrastructure developed and managed by apparel industry veterans. BIAC has contributed to cumulative exports of $ 1.85 Bn and has also attracted FDI of $ 144 Mn, as of 2019.36 It exports approximately $ 360 Mn worth of merchandise annually. With 22,000 persons working in a single SEZ/textile park, this is the single largest integrated employment enclave in the textile sector in India. Moreover, it is 100% self-sufficient in knits.

 Among the 17 units proposed- 10 for apparel, 2 for fabric mills, 1 for spinning, 2 for processing, and 2 for embroidery, a total of 14 are operational.

A vertically integrated cluster starting from spinning to apparel manufacturing, finishing and embroidery, BIAC is a self-sufficient unit.

I have not heard the mind-blowing infrastructure facilities of the above center anywhere else in India:

  • Pre-built manufacturing units: 26.9 lac sq m of land has been earmarked for construction of factory sheds for production purposes. 17 factory units in different plot sizes have also been planned in the park.
  • Common facilities: Exhibition hall & product display Centre, training Centre, testing Centre, and laboratory, administration building, canteen, first-aid and fire station, worker’s hostel & creche, customs office, and security.
  • Common Infrastructure: Main roads (2.70kms of 30m width), arterial roads- (5.7kms of 24 m width), sub arterial roads (3.1 km of 18 m width and 2.9kms of 9m width), water supply (storage and distribution network of supplying 60 MLD of water), 25.7 km of stormwater drainage, electrical distribution system with a power demand of 200 MW, 54 MLD common effluent treatment plant with 7.5 km of the effluent collection system.
  • The above reminds one of world-class standard.

Conclusion 

The purpose of my article is to aspire for world standards in technical textiles, a high-tech area suiting young Indian engineers, entrepreneurs, and massive financial institutions with 70 years plus industrial experience. India needs nearly 100 or more industrial units like Brandix India Apparel City, Visakhapatnam, and engage millions of technical students who graduate out of our eminent engineering/management schools. Instead of looking abroad for employment, our projected growth of 30% per annum under technical textiles will be a good beginning instead of present 11% per annum. Yes, for a country which prides itself with cotton fabrics of thousands of years of experience and also the largest producer of polyester fiber, am asking too much? 

Reference

http://texmin.nic.in/sites/default/files/scheme_technical_textile_070116.pdf

https://www.investindia.gov.in/siru/technical-textiles-future-textiles

*****

Disclaimer: I do give a lot of information from reliable government web sites. These are my views. For my views, neither taxguru.in nor any of the state government/central government is responsible. One can refer to any of the following web sites for actual consultation.

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