Thursday, 25 August 2016

Apparels Received Their Special Package… Raises Hopes For Home Textile Segment

It was only last month, that a special package was announced by the Ministry Of Textiles, pertaining to the Apparels exports. Following the suit, even the stakeholders of the Home Textile Segment are lobbying for something on the similar lines. It was at a recent event held by The Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council or Texprocil in Mumbai, when the council along with Ernst & Young released a report on ‘Textile Industry as a vehicle of job creation for inclusive growth’.
As per the details of the report India has been losing market share in the European Union, especially with respect to the home textiles, to arch rival Pakistan. This loss has amounted to over 37 items from all segments of textile industry, in the year 2015-16 alone. It is because of the tariff disadvantage that ranges from 9.6 to 12 percent, that lures importers from the EU to opt for business from Bangladesh and Pakistan, rather than from India. Thus, Indian exporters stand at a major loss especially in the high volume market.   Given the scenario, the officials argued, home textile segments desperately need some substantial support. The report also states, that as far as labour intensive segments go, home textiles are almost at par with the garments, owing to the similar processes, right from cutting the fabric, using the trims, and giving that perfect finish to the end product.

The Chairman of Texprocil, who also assumes the position of Senior President of Century Textiles, Mr RK Dalmia, highlighted that the study was carried out through by conducting primary research in production centres, along with holding face-to-face meetings with manufactures and exporter dealing in the segment, at all three levels, small, medium as well as large scale. He also emphasized on the need for the benefits of the special package for the apparel sector to be extended to home textiles with immediate effect. This will help in increasing the employment opportunities in rural India, rather significantly, while also playing a vital role in augmenting the export with respect to the home textiles products.

Mr Anurag Malik,Partner at Ernst & Young (Skill Development), also added his remarks with respect to the subject. He said that if the reality is to be considered the manufacturing of various home lines is far more labour intensive than that of garments pertaining to the large size of the products, which often require two or more people to come together and work on a single piece. Given that EU-India FTA is yet to finalised, it rather makes sense to treat all the cut & sew products, including apparel, garments, made-ups and home textile as one, and grant them additional incentive for exports at par with each other. He also added that Home Textiles is a significantly important product group, in the arena of export products, given the fact that its total export amounted to US $ 7,818 million, in the year 2015-16. From this total, the export to the European Union accounts to over US $ 2,061 million. It is quite understandable that EU is the single largest destination pertaining to home textile exports from India.

Adding its opinion to the matter, the home textiles lobby, claimed that if the garment sector generated 2-2.5 jobs per stitching machine, the home textiles industry generates 2.5 to 3.5 jobs per machine, thus proving the fact that the sector plays a major role in value addition to the entire industry and the economy on the whole! In fact, since the home textile industry relies on the usage of waste cotton generated by the spinning mills, and adds a commendable value to this waste, its significance is self-explanatory.

That being said, even the Southern India Textile Mills’ Association, or SIMA also raised a demand for the same. It was then that the Secretary of the Ministry of Textiles, Ms RashmiVerma assured that in the upcoming textile policy, these needs of the home textile segment will be given due consideration and will be included in the policy. She also added that, the segment of made-up textiles is as vital as the garment sector and while being equally labour-intensive, it also creates a plentiful of jobs for the women folks. This segment also generates impressive demands for products like yarns and fabrics, thus helping the economy.  She reassured that, when the draft of the textile policy will be placed before the cabinet, the home textile sector can also hope to receive a package, similar to that extended to the apparel segment.

When being asked if the home textile industry actually requires a package as humongous as the garment sector, and if it had some different needs, the Chairman of SIMA, M. Senthilkumar, voiced his opinion. He said, we at SIMA are in favour of the home-textile sector being covered under the same special package. While the processes and technology that are required for manufacturing of the fabric for home textiles is capital intensive, the sector itself is labour intensive. This is evident from the fact that the manufacturers pay a significantly high conversion charge pertaining to the fabric as against the apparel manufacturers. As a matter of fact, the home textiles segment generates almost up to 20% higher employment and score better on the front of value addition, as compared to the garment sector. All we want is that the capital subsidy under A-TUFS should be increased from 10 to 25 per cent for weaving and processing segment, which is connected to the home textiles segment!
It is noteworthy that SIMA had sent representation in this regard, to Mr Santosh Kumar Gangwar, ex-Textile Minister.

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