From The Editor's Desk: Reduction of the trade imbalance

Excerpt: India's self-sufficiency in textile value chain is a crucial advantage it enjoys,& our inability to really drive home the advantage to the fullest is telling phenomenon which cannot be justified

We know that the Current Account Deficit in the country is one of the biggest economic concerns, especially in a growth propelled economy like ours, where any decision has multiple linkages. This is where it is most admirable that three vital sectors in the ambit of our industry are proudly positive contributors to the economy, with exports being significantly higher than imports. We are referring to the textile industry as a whole, as also the textile chemicals and the colorant/dyestuffs industry.

India's self-sufficiency in the textile value chain is a crucial advantage it enjoys, and our inability to really drive home the advantage to the fullest is a telling phenomenon which cannot really be justified or explained. We have traditional cotton growing countries like Egypt with low processing capacity, or the processing powerhouses like Bangladesh with no home-grown fabric. India, on the other hand, is uniquely positioned with its large output of cotton and polyester production. Its spinning capacities are also world class. It is the processing industry which needs to have developed world-class operations and capacities. All of us following the industry's fortunes have already lamented on the missed opportunities in this respect since 2005. To understand the enormity of the opportunity as also the gravity of the possible benefits of the same, we must look at the above-described strengths on the input side of the supply chain. Build on top of this, our capabilities in the chemicals industry (crucial to the processing segment) in terms of the product and compliances, and also the access and respect India has in global markets, coupled with a strong domestic market, and we realise how processing capacities have become almost a singular bottleneck in making the Indian Textile Industry a global textile superpower. The fact that this continues to happen is a real tragedy and quite inexplicable honestly. Just to drive home this point, I narrate a recent State Investment Summit, where the newly formed state in question was doling out incentives to the textile industry, promising subsidies and sops for every sector barring processing.

By the time this piece is read by all of you, it would be apparent as to who will govern the country for the next 5 years. Irrespective of whomsoever it is, they would do will to address this at top priority. There is a lot at stake on hand, and governments after governments seemed to have missed the trick. While the fundamental point related to the trade imbalance as earlier described could be significantly alleviated using the large textile and garment trade as a basis, there is also the more important social factor of employment that the entire textile value chain could address.

For an industry that could easily address multiple issues like increased revenues, foreign exchange earnings and employment, I think it is high time our textile industry is given due credence, and also provided with an atmosphere and policy outlay that is conducive to the realisation of this potential. If the Automotive, Pharma and IT industries could benefit from it and contribute to nation-building in the past, there is no reason why the textile industry cannot do so.

Author Details

Dilip Raghavan

Editor Publisher