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  • 1. www.fibre2fashion.comwww.fibre2fashion.com Nonwoven and Technical Textiles in India: Current India: Scenario By: Seshadri Ramkumar
  • 2. Published  in  Nonwovens  Industry,  USA,  May  2010,  pp:  101-­‐103  www.fibre2fashion.com Available  at  www.nonwovens-­‐india.com    Nonwovens and Technical Textiles in India: Current ScenarioSeshadri RamkumarNonwovens & Advanced Materials LaboratoryTexas Tech UniversityLubbock, TX 79409E-mail: s.ramkumar@ttu.eduIn the recent past, India offered enormous excitement for the US and European technicaltextiles sector. They all eyed India as an immediate new market offering enormousopportunities. India’s growth is expected to be around 8% in the years ahead and should bewatched as a growth market. However, the landscape is not mature enough yet for the entiresegment of the nonwovens and the technical textiles industry of the developed world to starthaving tremendous business opportunities. India’s government and the textile industry arecertainly optimistic for the growth in the technical textiles sector. This will be a welcoming signfor the US and European manufacturers who are eyeing on new growth markets. This articlebriefly will elaborate on the current textile industry scenario, need for diversification intononwovens and technical textiles sector, policy schemes and where there are immediateopportunities.Indian Economy and Growth ScenarioAccording to the recent Global Economics Prospects report by the World Bank, Indian economyis expected to grow at a rate of 7.5-8% during 2010-12. In addition, according to this report, FDIinflows are expected to grow due to India’s efforts to relax investment limits in some sectors andthe simplification of foreign direct investment procedures. This growth number was mostrecently echoed by the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh during his Nuclear SecuritySummit meeting with the US President Obama. An important observation from the PrimeMinister’s remark which will be of particular interest to the industry is that India encouragesglobal free trade and is against protectionist approaches. This policy will help our industry tostart dialogues with Indian companies for new joint ventures, investments and tradeopportunities. India’s rising middle income population will fuel the domestic consumption of productssuch as hygiene and feminine care which will be the drivers for growth for the nonwovens andtechnical textiles (NWTT) industry. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) in its latest report, “TheAsian Development Outlook 2010,” has stated that the strong domestic consumption and thegrowing investments will put India’s economy in the growth trajectory. ADB emphasizes theimportance of domestic consumption and infrastructural investments on the growth of Indianeconomy, meaning more opportunities for the technical textiles industry.
  • 3. Published  in  Nonwovens  Industry,  USA,  May  2010,  pp:  101-­‐103  www.fibre2fashion.com Available  at  www.nonwovens-­‐india.com    Status of the Indian Textiles Industry India’s textile industry is a conventional industry dominated by cotton. According to arecent report by the Ministry of Textiles, India, there are 1834 textile mills with an installedcapacity of 37 million ring spindles, 489,718 rotors and 56,526 looms. Compared to the capacityof the conventional textile industry, the nonwoven roll good production is between 80,000 and100,000 metric tons. Textiles industry, which includes the nascent technical textiles sector,contributes 4% to the GDP and 14% to the industrial production. The two main reasons whichmake the Indian textiles industry strong are: 1) export earnings and 2) employmentopportunities. India’s textiles industry employs some 35 million people directly and contributes17% to the total export earnings of the country.Need for Technical Textiles Sector in India The economic strength of the Indian textiles industry comes from its export earnings.The competitive advantage that India had in terms of its labor cost has been eroding slowly andsmaller nations such as Bangladesh and Vietnam due to cheaper labor and trade agreementswith the US and Europe are gaining advantageous positions with regard to foreign trade. Morerecently, the decrease in the consumer spending and the global economic recession haveforced the Indian textile industry to start thinking seriously about technical textiles. Thegovernment and the industry are looking for diversification opportunities to enlarge the overallmarket size of the Indian textiles industry. India textiles industry wants to reach the size of US $115 billion by 2012. The expectation is that the technical textiles sector will contribute at least10% to the overall market size, which will be US $ 11.5 billion. The current value of the Indiantechnical textiles sector is around US $8 billion. This means, India’s technical textiles sector hasto nearly double in size in years ahead. All stake holders, i.e., industry and trade associations,Government, industry related trade associations and textile academia and working seriously tobuild a viable technical textiles sector in India. In this connection, Government of India is playinga significant role in creating awareness and developing a knowledge base for the NWTT sector.Since mid 2000s, the government has supported many technical awareness programs. BothINDA and EDANA have offered sector wise training programs in major textile hubs such asSurat, Coimbatore, New Delhi, etc.Market Size of India’s Technical Textiles Sector In India, the value-added textiles industry is collectively grouped into to a single sectorcommonly referred to as technical textiles. This sector encompasses fiber to converted productsindustry. Indian technical textiles industry is nascent and highly fragmented. Government ofIndia sponsored a nation-wide market survey to estimate the size, need and the growth potentialof this industry. ICRA, a management consultancy undertook the government sponsored studyand has estimated the current market size to be 398,760 million Indian rupees (~US $8.86billion). It is expected to grow at 11% to reach a size of 664,050 million Indian rupees (~US$14.76 billion) by 2012-13. The consumption will be slightly under the market size. The reportdivides the technical textiles sector into 12 segments as categorized by the TechTextil yearsago. The largest segments are Packtech, Clothtech, Indutech and Meditech. In my opinion, the
  • 4. Published  in  Nonwovens  Industry,  USA,  May  2010,  pp:  101-­‐103  www.fibre2fashion.com Available  at  www.nonwovens-­‐india.com    categorization of the nascent Indian technical textiles into 12 segments is premature and willcause confusions. There are several products that can fit well in many segments and such acategorization for an emerging market may not be suitable. In order to have an easier anduseful segmentation from the point of view of marketing, we have proposed a three wayclassification of the technical textiles sector: 1) Consumer Products; 2) Institutional Productsand 3) Government Procurement Products. Consumer products include personal care, babycare and hygiene products. In this category, global brands such as Huggies and Pampers havepenetrated into the market. Major players are P&G, Kimberly-Clark, SCA-Godrej and Johnsonand Johnson. Products from these major international companies are predominantly sold inpharmacies and retails stores such as Birla’s More and Big Bazaars. The consumers that usethese products are predominantly middle-income, upper middle class and those from the upperstrata of the society. The cost and the lack of awareness prohibit the penetration of theseproducts into the rural and low income areas. There will be growth in the consumption ofinstitutional products such as geotextiles, automotive textiles and hospital products. India has aplan to build 20 kilometers of national highway per day which will lead to more consumption oftechnical textiles products. Government procurement category also offers scope as the Ministryof Defense, Government of India has recently streamlined its procurement policies. Thosecountries that have quality defense textiles products and liaison bodies in India will haveadvantages over the others.Policies of Interest As elaborated above, Government of India values the contributions of the value-addedsector, i.e., technical textiles sector and has put in several positive schemes.Technology Upgradation Fund: This scheme was launched as a post MFA quota supportpolicy in 1999 to make the textiles industry more competitive. This scheme supports theinvestments in the NWTT sector in India and is extended till March 31st 2012. Until September2009, 793,830 million rupees has been disbursed to a total of 26,277 projects not limited toNWTT sector alone. Under this scheme, new technical textiles projects can obtain 10% capitalsubsidy for machinery and 5% interest credit. Almost, all nonwoven and technical textilesmachinery including testing equipment are eligible for the capital subsidy. One of the successstories in our sector has been the Ahlstrom Medical Fabrics project in the State of Gujarat, Indiawhich has availed the benefits of supportive schemes provided by both the Central Governmentof India and the State Government of Gujarat, India.Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks: Government of India contributes towards the growth ofindustry clusters by providing support for the cost of common facilities, infrastructure such aspower and building in the cluster projects with the aim of creating concentrated clusterssupporting growth and employment. Ideally 50 units are expected to be involved in the clusterproject. The Government of India will support up to 40% of the total project cost with a ceiling of400 million Indian rupees (~ US $8.9 million). Setting up of converting sectors in the NWTTindustry will be ideal under the scheme.
  • 5. Published  in  Nonwovens  Industry,  USA,  May  2010,  pp:  101-­‐103  www.fibre2fashion.com Available  at  www.nonwovens-­‐india.com     In addition to the above two central government schemes, export oriented industries thatare set-up in Special Economic Zones can avail additional tax exemptions.Centers of Excellence in Technical Textiles: In order to raise the awareness and develop aviable NWTT sector, Indian government has allocated 440 million Indian rupees (~ US $9.78million) for the four centers established which will focus on agro, protective, geo and medicaltextiles.Concessional Custom Duties: Machinery which are used by the NWTT sector have beenplaced under the concessional base custom duty regime of 5 percentage. This will allow thetotal duty to be 18.61 percentage. What the Indian NWTT Sector Needs? 1) There is an immediate need for the converting sector in India. Due to the growing domestic consumption and increase in wages, the need for consumer products at affordable rates will rise. International NWTT industry, machinery makers and trade bodies should look for win-win opportunities in the creation of converting clusters. 2) India has adequate roll good manufacturers although not of high quality. The needs of the domestic market as of today can be met with the existing capacity. There are approximately 50 spunbond manufacturers with predominantly Chinese, Korean and Taiwanese machinery. The industry at present is reluctant to invest in high-end machinery as the market is not established and well built for marketing the products. 3) Technical schools to educate and train skilled workers who can be employed in the growing NWTT sector are needed. 4) Knowledge on converting roll goods to end-user products is needed. This also includes knowledge on chemical finishing and formulation developments. 5) Marketing know-how and coordinated approach towards marketing are needed.All stake holders have realized the need for a coordinated body to represent the interests of thegrowing technical textiles industry. The NWTT sector in India has just formed the IndianTechnical Textiles Association (ITAA) with its current headquarters in Mumbai. To sum up, in 2008 (See Nonwovens Industry, February 2008), we predicted based onthe available GDP growth numbers for India from the World Bank, India’s NWTT sector will growat a rate of 13% in the following years. The government of India sponsored market survey bythe ICRA consultancy is forecasting a growth of 11% per annum. In a general sense, the growthwill be in double digits. As elaborated above, there is an emergent need to grow the convertingsector, which will spearhead the growth of other segments of the NWTT sector. Machinerymakers, fabric producers, fiber manufacturers and industry trade bodies should take note of theabove immediate needs of the Indian NWTT industry and the Indian market and engage inrelevant trade talks and promotional activities.
  • 6. Published  in  Nonwovens  Industry,  USA,  May  2010,  pp:  101-­‐103  www.fibre2fashion.com Available  at  www.nonwovens-­‐india.com     Source: Ministry of Textiles, Government of India.