Reaching $100-Billion Textile Exports Goal: What Will It Take To Get There?

By Anurag Singh Khangarot

India has always been known for its delicate fabrics, beautiful designs and traditional textiles. The Indian textile and apparel industry is flourishing and the industry’s growth rate has increased multi-fold in the past few years. In fact, it is one of the few industries that recovered faster and recorded remarkable growth even during the pandemic. Textile exports alone were worth US$ 1.19 billion as of December 2020.

The tremendous growth potential of the industry may be the reason behind the Central government of India’s announcement of the ambitious goal of increasing its textile exports to USD 100 Billion in the next five years.

“India has everything it needs to get to USD 100 Billion in textile exports. The need of the hour is that all the parties, be it the industry players, the government and the industry associations and affiliates will have to work together towards achieving this dream,” says Rimjhim Hada, Co-Founder & Creative Head of a clothing brand, “Yes, it will take a lot of work but with right initiatives and meaningful collaborations, the industry can totally achieve this number.”

Here are some steps that the industry and the government can leverage in order to achieve this ambitious goal of increasing India’s textile exports to USD 100 Billion.

Government’s Role

The Government needs to take some integrated steps keeping in view the industry growth as well as overall economic growth of the country.

1. Encourage Indigenous Textile Industries

The art of making cloth and textiles is as old as time and to give the textile industry of the country a boost, it is important to promote traditional and indigenous textile companies. The Ministry of Textiles has approved a Rs 160 crore (US$ 21.39 million) extension of the handicrafts sector development project in October 2021. Such initiatives by the government encourage local businesses and local artisans and their proper implementation must be taken care of to obtain favourable outcomes.

2. Financial Support Through Tariff Concessions

Import and export go hand in hand. Both these activities are a testament to the global connections of the country.

The government imposes, and over time, increases taxes on imports in the hopes to promote domestic manufacturing and trade. However, raising duties and customs on imports works against the spirit of the free market and may lead to greater costs of production, limiting the industries’ ability to export profitably. So, the government must maintain equilibrium when it comes to taxes on imports and takes strategic measures to curtail the imports rather than increasing import duties.

3. Help Make Micro-Units Mid-Sized

There are a lot of small-sized mills and companies that function within the country. They face a lot of problems in their pursuit of growth. The lack of capital and stringent taxation are some of the major barriers for small-sized organisations. It is very important for the government to introduce schemes and financial relief programmes for MSMEs to gather funds and grow. Such opportunities are paramount to encouraging growth in the domestic textile markets.

4. Incentivize Industrialists

Driving investment is one sure way to increase capital and funds in the textile industry. It is up to the government to incentivise private organisations to invest in the industry. Moreover, the government should also take steps to increase Foreign Direct Investment in small and medium-sized firms and the overall technology development as it can trigger momentous growth for the textile and apparel industry.

Apart from all of this, there is a multitude of things that private organisations can do to achieve the aspired goal.

Role of Industry Players

Apart from what the government does, there are some steps that private players in the industry must undertake to achieve the 100 billion mark.

1. Increase Fixed Term Employment

The textile industry is a labour-intensive field. It is important to maintain a stable workforce. Moreover, industries should also work on gradually increasing the workforce to meet domestic demands and all the while increasing exports too. This can be done by hiring more skilled, full-time workers to maximize utility, production and increase exports.

2. Stay on Top of Trends

Global markets are governed by trends in the fashion industry. That is applicable not just for the textile produces, but also for means of production and sustainability. The average global consumer has gotten ‘woke’. They demand sustainability and eco-friendly means of production. In fact, given the current environment, sustainability is the future of manufacturing and textile production. The organizations need to embed sustainability to thrive in the coming years while keeping up with the global fashion trends.

3. Active Participation in International Exhibitions, Conferences and other events

There is a lot of scope for the growth of the textile industry in the global arena. But to actualize the real potential, private players must put in extra efforts to create an international presence that can be done via participating in global conferences, and exhibitions. They must scout for and get involved in the Government industry exchange programs or trade fairs should as it can open newer and wider markets, boosting revenue growth.

4. Play to your Strengths

Indian textile is popular in the international community for its vibrant colours, traditional designs, durability, regional handloom techniques and versatility. It is important to leverage these inherent advantages to our favour and promote the uniqueness of indigenous textiles across the world as much as possible. This will allow the private players as well as the industry to monetize their strengths, ultimately leading to the substantial increase in exports

Summing it up

Taking active steps and utilizing manufacturing best practices can help the industry gain more traction and push it forward. Both the government and private parties will have to cooperate to increase the textile exports to greater heights. Being one of the largest textile and apparel industries in the world, India has everything it takes to be a global leader in the industry. If all the stakeholders come together and work towards the common goal of reaching 100 billion, the industry can actually surpass the 100 billion mark and set new milestones for the world. What do you think?

Authored By

Anurag Singh Khangarot, Co-founder, Aachho

(Economy India)