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A Promising Future

Written by: Fibre2Fashion

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The Indian technical textiles sector has immensepotential to grow both domestically as well as globally. Backed by governmentinitiatives and support, India can emerge as a global manufacturing hub fortechnical textiles in the future. A Fibre2Fashion report.

It is amassive market that remains overshadowed by its conventional cousin. And, alldiscussion about its scope remains confined mostly to stakeholders. But almostunnoticed-certainly by those not conversant with the sector—technical textileshave already emerged from the shadow of the overall textiles industry and isnow reckoned to be an entity of its own. Plus, it is big.

Theglobal technical textilesmarket was valued at $157.68billionin 2016 and is projected to reach $220.37 billion by 2022 at a CAGR of 5.89 percent from 2017,according to a recent report by Markets and Markets. The major factors driving this market are growing demand andgovernment initiatives in promoting this sector. The increasing use of technical textiles in end-use industriessuch as automobiles, construction, healthcare and geotextilestoo are driving themarket. The technical textiles used in these industries is being attributed to the unique functionpropertieshygieneand safety, cost-effectiveness, durability, strength, versatility,user-friendliness, lightweight and logistical convenience. 

Backhome, the growth driversof the Indian technical textiles markets include:

    Growing industrialisation,

    Changing lifestyles,

    Improvement in safety and hygiene,

    Increase in technology, and

    Awareness of protective wear.

TheIndian market

The Indian technical textiles sectoris growing along with that of the end-user industries. The sector contributes around 12 percent to the overall Indian textilesmarket. The major factorcontributing to the growth of Indian technical textiles are infrastructure and industrialdevelopment in the country

Government initiatives too are attracting investments. The government has put in place thefollowing policies to develop a comprehensive manufacturing base for high-valuetechnical textiles in India.

    Export Promotion of Capital Goods (EPCG),

    Amended Technological Upgradation FundScheme (ATUFS),

    Schemes for agro-textileusage in the Northeast region,

    Scheme for the usage of geotechnicaltextiles in the Northeast,

Benefitsunder Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and Schemes for Integrated Textile Parks(SITP).

Domestic consumption has increased by 6.8 per cent in recent years. To make the Indian technical textiles industry competitive globally, a dual policy needs to be adopted for exports as well as domestic markets. The industry is expected to expand at CAGR of 13.11 per cent during 2018–23 to $32 billion.

Exports and imports

India is a net exporter of technical textile products, with exports touching $1,849.8 million in 201718. Exports will grow at a CAGR of 3.3 per cent in the five years. After two consecutive years of decline, exports recovered remarkably in 201718 to register a significant y-o-y growth of 18.4 per cent, increasing from $1,562.5 million in the previous year to $1,849.8 million in 201718. 

The US was the leading destination with exports estimated at $336.8 million in 2017-18. The value of US exports recorded a healthy CAGR of 10.6 per cent in the period between 201314 and 201718. The US share in Indian exports of technical textiles increased from 13.9 per cent to 18.2 per cent in the period

Imports of technical textile products ($1,744.8 million) increased substantially in 201718 at a growth rate of 21.7 per cent. Imports recorded a CAGR of 8.1 per cent between 201314 and 201718. 

The largest import source of technical textile products was China, accounting for more than 50 per cent share in both 201314 and 201718. The value of imports from China recorded a CAGR of 8.2 per cent in those four years. Other major import sources in 201718 included Thailand, Taiwan, the US, Bangladesh, Germany, South Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Nepal.

Growth as global manufacturer

India should grow as a global technical textiles manufacturing hub with the following advantages: 

     Extensive availability of textile raw material;

     Technical textiles being a labour-intensive industry, the presence of a large pool of labour at a comparatively low cost can provide a competitive edge over technical textile producing countries like China, the US, and those in Europe; 

     Power costs are lower than other countries, and lending rates are higher than in China and Vietnam; with government schemes, the effective cost of capital becomes comparable;

     India’s infrastructure for technical textiles is developing with investment in R&D, testing and investor facilitation from the Centre of Excellence. 

Even though the global industry is dominated by European countries and China, there is potential in India to emerge as a global manufacturing hub for technical textiles in the future. 

Steps needed to grow further

Indian government schemes for textiles and apparel manufacturers have been targeting technology up-gradation, infrastructure development, export promotion and many more segments. State governments should also announce their own policies for attracting investors to their respective states. 

However, India is yet to exploit its potential in technical textiles sector due to reasons such as the absence of regulatory measures for technical textile usage in various industries. Moreover, the country is still dependent on imports for technology and advanced machinery and India has limited production of high-end products and specialized yarns and intricate duty structure.

To facilitate the growth of the Indian technical textiles industry, several measures need attention. Some of them are: 

     Establishing regulatory norms to increase the consumption of technical textile goods;

     Developing exclusive HSN codes to identify high growth products for further development;

     Establishing and implementing Indian standards to develop high-quality products for global acceptance;

     Better operational standards;

     Focus on training, education and creating end-user awareness to boost domestic demand for high-end technical textile products.

Besides this, India should also focus on forming partnerships with other global payers for acquiring technical know-how. This will help the country to attract large-scale investments. 

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