Upskill workers and adopt latest technologies to capture global textile and apparel market: Vice President

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The Vice President, M. Venkaiah Naidu today called for upskilling the textile and apparel workers and adopting the latest technologies to gain competitiveness in exports and to capture the global market. He said that though we have a strong base of raw material and manpower, we are lagging in global fabric exports because of the small size of average firms and the use of outdated technology.

Launching the Virtual Platform of the Apparel Products of the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC), he said “Unless the average size of the apparels firm grows, adopts latest technologies and possesses skilled manpower, we cannot manufacture quality items and export at competitive prices. Only this way, we can exploit the full employment and economic potential of the industry”, he added.

Appreciating the Amended Technology Up-gradation Fund Scheme (ATUFS) as an excellent scheme that can give a boost to small scale firms, he said concerted efforts must be made to deliver the benefits of the scheme to the firms in second and third-tier towns and rural areas. Describing it as a commendable initiative, he expressed the hope that it will go a long way in promoting Indian apparel exports around the world. He lauded the Minister of Textiles, Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani for her dynamism and the initiatives she has been taking in the Ministry.

Noting that the share of India in global textile exports was just 6 per cent, the Vice President said the small scale businesses need hand-holding and should be supported in scaling up and improving the quality to match global competitors. He commended the NITI Aayog’s plans to work with the textiles ministry to set up mega textile firms to boost exports.

Naidu said that India’s competitive edge and core strength should come from skilled manpower and not just cheap manpower.

The Vice President also called upon the textile entrepreneurs to diversify their manufacturing portfolio to suit the changing global demands and tap newer markets. He further noted the importance of branding in adding value to apparel products and advised the entrepreneurs to work on brand-building. Through such efforts, along with the cooperation of the states, the support from the Ministry of Textiles and the initiatives of AEPC in promoting exports, India should aspire to soon reach a double-digit share in exports of fabrics from the current 6%, he added.

Referring to the important role played by the textiles sectors in the economy, Naidu noted that it was the second-largest employer and provides direct employment to about 45 million people. He said the sector can play a major role in tapping the potential of our demographic dividend. It is also a very important foreign exchange earning industry for India, contributing to about 12% in our export earnings, he added.

Referring to the increased labour force participation of women in the apparel’s sector, he termed it as a true vehicle of social transformation in remote areas through financial empowerment of women. “Women are 50 per cent of our talent pool. If they are given proper encouragement and training, they will excel greatly”, the Vice President observed.  He added that the textile sector’s expansion could have positive outcomes for women’s education and total fertility rate too.

Observing that the sunrise sector of ‘technical textiles’ presents a great opportunity to the industry, he called upon entrepreneurs to capitalize on the expanding global market, which is expected to reach USD 220 billion by 2022. He advised budding entrepreneurs to explore this market as India was still picking up in this area with about 4 per cent market share.

Naidu appreciated the recently announced Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for the Man-made Fibres (MMF) and Technical textiles by the Government. He also lauded the efforts of AEPC and the Ministry of Textiles for promoting the manufacturing and export of Medical Textiles (PPE Kits, Face Shields, Masks & Gloves) during the pandemic.

As a result of these concerted efforts, India today stands in the 2nd position in the world in the manufacturing of PPE Kits, Naidu added.

Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani, Minister of Textiles, Dr A. Sakthivel, Chairman-AEPC, garment exporters and industry leaders were among the dignitaries who participated in the virtual event.

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