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Industry & Economy - Textiles


Huge potential seen for technical textiles

Anna Peter

ECTT has identified 18 segments to facilitate entrepreneurial activity.

Mumbai , Nov. 10

FOR a textile industry just out of a tough phase, technical textiles are being touted as the next best thing to happen. Its applications are wide-ranging — used in kitchen products, diapers, and even light combat aircraft. In fact, most of Mumbai's flyovers are made of geo-synthetics that are currently imported.

In certain industrialised nations, technical textiles account for over 25 per cent of all fibre consumed and almost 50 per cent of the total textile activity in certain others. In China, technical textiles accounted for 20 per cent of the total textile consumption in 2000.

The Government recently released a survey of the industry as it exists worldwide and has identified 25 areas that Indian industry, in particular, could tap.The Textile Commissioner and Chairman of the Expert Committee on Technical Textiles (ECTT), Mr Subodh Kumar, said that globally the technical textiles growth was estimated at 17 billion kg with a value of $93 billion in 2000 and was expected to grow to 24 billion kg with a value of $127 billion by 2010. The market size in India is assessed at Rs 27,377 crore in 2003-04, and is expected to increase to Rs 41,938 crore in 2007-08.

Interestingly, in the total fabric consumption globally — 11 billion kg in 2000 — woven fabrics accounted for 73 per cent, non-woven fabrics 20 per cent, knitted fabrics 5 per cent and others for 2 per cent.

Clearly then, there is great potential. For instance, in non-woven fabrics consumption worldwide, medtech (with applications for the medical industry) accounted for 33 per cent, buildtech (applications for the civil engineering sector) for 15 per cent, clothetech 14 per cent and hometech 12 per cent.

The implementation of the recommendations of the committee and initiation of the action plan is, according to the ECTT, expected to gross Rs 10,000-15,000 crore in investments in the next few years.

The ECTT identified 18 segments in which to facilitate entrepreneurial activity; among them the needle-punch project, geogrid project, compression garment, conversion of healthcare disposables, fibrefill project, woven geotextiles, safety and protective textiles.

The report recommends that an inter-ministerial committee co-ordinate the implementation of the action plan. Other suggestions include the withdrawal of excise duty exemption on sanitary napkins/baby diapers/incontinence diapers; an advance licence scheme to provide level playing field to the indigenous manufacturers supplying to World Bank-assisted project; a concessional rate of 5 per cent customs duty on 22 specified machinery; and concessional customs duty on specified 35 high performance fibres and yarns.

It was also recommended that the use of indigenous geotextiles, use of fire retardant textiles, seatbelts, helmets and airbags and environmental protection textiles be made mandatory with prospective effect.

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