Reaching 100-billion dollar textile exports goal: What will it take to get there?

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Reaching 100-billion dollar textile exports goal: What will it take to get there?

The tremendous growth potential of the industry may be the reason behind the 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 always been known for its delicate fabrics, beautiful designs, and traditional textiles. The Indian textile & 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 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 & 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. 

1. Government’s role 

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

2. 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 as well as 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 as well as local artisans and hence, a proper implementation must be taken care of to obtain favourable outcomes.  

3. 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 & 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. 

4. 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 & financial relief programmes for MSMEs to gather funds and grow. Such opportunities are paramount to encouraging growth in the domestic textile markets. 

5. Incentivise 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 & medium-sized firms and also, in the overall technology development as it can trigger momentous growth for the textile as well as apparel industry. 

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

6. 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. 

a. 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, all the while increasing exports too. This can be done by hiring more skilled, full-time workers to maximise utility, production and increase exports. 

b. Stay on top of trends 

Global markets are governed by trends in the fashion industry. It is applicable not just for the textile produces but also, for means of production & 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 organisations need to embed sustainability to thrive in the coming years while keeping up with the global fashion trends.   c. 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. However, to actualise the real potential, private players must put in extra efforts to create an international presence, which can be done via participating in global conferences, and exhibitions. They must scout for and get involved in the government-industry exchange programmes or trade fairs should be conducted as it can open newer & wider markets thereby, boosting revenue growth.   d. Play to your strengths 

Indian textiles are popular in the international community for their 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 monetise their strengths ultimately, leading to a substantial increase in exports.  Summing it up 

Taking active steps and utilising best practices in manufacturing 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 & apparel industries in the world, India has everything that 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 

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