fabrics, Indian textile

An Overview on Indian Textile Industry

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It was customary for ambassadors to gift the emperor with fine items while they return from distant lands. On such an accession, a Persian ambassador gifted a coconut to his emperor. The ministers and other distinguished people around the court were undoubtedly surprised. Everyone thought that sooner the ambassador may lose his head for making a joke on the emperor. But everyone was taken aback when the emperor found a 230-yard long Muslin cloth neatly packed inside the coconut. The ambassador was returning from India. Exploring the diverse and highly interesting Indian Textiles markets.


Indian Textile Industry before the British

British came to india for textile crops

In order to understand the Indian textile industry better, it is important to know a little history of what happened during British rule. The British people used to wear only wool and leather until Indian cotton fabrics were introduced to them. Those materials were so comfortable to wear that they quickly rose to popularity and threatened the traditional wool and leather industry.

In the 1700s the British government passed a law to ban any imports of Indian cotton items. The events that occurred in Britain due to cotton importing were dramatic. People that were seen wearing cotton were called anti-national and were stoned and thrashed. Furthers acts were introduced, but importing still continued with major restrictions.

While Indian cotton imports were restricted, the British started to make imitations of cotton to capitalize on the thriving demand for Indian cotton. It was during this period that the British decided to invent the machinery. It took more than three decades to innovate the spinning mill. Between 1733 and 1765 first weaving machine was introduced.

The rise in weaving machines increased the demand for raw cotton. They imposed several taxes on indigenous Indian weavers. This effectively destroyed the Indian Textile industry. During British rule, Indian weavers suffered severe punishments and harassment which ultimately resulted in the death of the Indian textile industry. Raw cotton began to receive demand from outside. It helped only a handful of farmers.

Cotton Fabrics


Indian Textile Industry Post Independence

Gandhi march

The father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi had a vision for reviving the textile industry. He proclaimed “Production by masses, instead of mass production”. Sadly, even after independence, the Indian government set up by Jawaharlal Nehru also followed the same system that was established in Britain and Russia. During this period, a lot of textile mills were started.

India lost a chunk of raw cotton cultivation to Pakistan and Bangladesh which were a part of India before independence. Industrialization brought increment in GDP and development. But traditional artisans lost their livelihood.

Why India for Sustainable fabrics?


Current scenario of the Indian Textile Industry

Indian Textile Industry is one of the largest in the world now. It is estimated that it will grow from $223 billion in 2021 to $250 billion by 2025. The domestic market serves the entire 130 crore people is estimated at around $60 billion in market capitalization.

The Indian Textile Industry produces everything from fiber to garment. It is the second-largest sector after farming, which employs the most people. 45 million people are directly employed and another 60 million people are indirectly employed. The Textile industry directly contributes around 12% of the Indian GDP and around 5% of the global textile trade. It is one of the oldest industries in the Indian economy.

Indian Textile industry can be divided into two major segments

  1. Organized sector

The organized textile sector in India is the largest. It includes various segments of industries like spinning mills, apparel, and garment producers. The organized sector utilizes the most modern machinery, tools, and techniques. They manufacture in bulk quantities and produce for the masses.

  1. Unorganized sector

The unorganized textile sector in India consists of various handlooms, handicrafts, and sericulture segments that are operated on a small scale using traditional tools and techniques.


What are the threats to the Indian Textile Industry?

Modi speaking at textile conference

Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a special package recently to revive the textile sector in India. Is the Indian Textile Industry in trouble? As per the data, India has an enormous share in the textile business. But we have seen an enormous number of mills shutting down. People are losing jobs and exports have become stagnant.

Moreover, the Indian textile sector is heavily overrun by countries like Bangladesh and Vietnam. The labor charges are less in these countries. Besides, the involvement of women workers is high in these countries.

In the past year, Indian textile exports have marginally declined from $37.14 billion to $36.26 billion. Exports have only grown around 8% while Bangladesh and Vietnam saw 12% and 14% respectively.

These challenges and threats may have prompted Sri Narendra Modi to unveil the special package that will bring in an additional Rs. 75000 crore in investments and open up at least one crore new jobs. This move is expected to help India move ahead of the other two countries in Textile production and exports.

On the other hand, there are other local issues with workers and among politicians. In Telangana, textile mills are often shut down twice a week in protest. The same style of protest is spread throughout the southern textile mills located in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

The prices of raw cotton are increasing in the country as large corporations began to hoard stocks due to the uncertainty in markets. International political problems led to added duties and taxes on imported yarns and fibers. It is recorded that around 600 textile mills have shut down in the past year. That is 2 mills every single day.


Future. .

The future of the Indian textile industry will be a bumpy ride. But I can assure you that it will play an important role in dressing up the world. What are your thoughts on this subject? Mention below.

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