By Brajendra Nath Sing

Gandhinagar– Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday roped in seven union ministers to hard sell India on the final day of “Textiles India-2017” event here to attract foreign investment in the textile industry and to boost domestic players while urging them to focus on creating jobs.

Union Ministers M. Venkaiah Naidu, Nitin Gadkari, Ananth Kumar, Nirmala Sitharaman, Radhamohan Singh, Mahesh Sharma and Rajiv Pratap Rudy took part in different sessions here at Mahatma Mandir and urged the players to help and support Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Avision of “Make In India”.

They explained that the government was working towards the modernization of the various sectors of the textiles industry and emphasised that it was also working to develop skills, so as to create more employment opportunities.

“India is the only bright spot in the world economy and it has emerged as a most favourable destination. Great opportunities are awaiting in this sector for Indians and the foreign investors,” Naidu told the concluding session of the three-day event that was inaugurated by Modi on June 30.

“Textiles sector has … contributed immensely towards socio-economic development. (It) has linkages to both agriculture and industry. It contributes 10 per cent to India’s manufacturing production,” Naidu said.

Union Road Minister Gadkari said a new way of using geo-textile fabrics in road construction was very important and the government and engineering institutions were always ready to encourage and sponsor the amendment in this area.

“Geo-textile fabric is a new area, which can help reduce the cost of road construction,” Gadkari said, addressing a session on “Exploring growth potential of technical textiles for building India”.

Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said the overall growth of natural fibre sector was important for the economy.

“Natural fibres are the backbone of the Indian textile industry. It constitutes more than 60 per cent of the total fibre industry. After the agricultural industry, the Indian textile industry gives direct employment to millions… In India, 30 million farmers are involved in the production of natural fibres,” he said.

Focussing on an urgent need to increase the productivity of cotton with the introduction of high yielding plants, best agronomic practice and innovative technologies, Singh said cotton alone contributed for 50 per cent of apparel use in the 1990s. However, at present, its share has declined to less than 30 per cent in world apparel market.

Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Sitharaman talked about challenges the textiles industry was facing and the possible interventions that could be made to promote growth in terms of scale, profitability and adequate compensation to indigenous artisans and traders.

“The focus should be on promoting niche areas that cover indigenous artisans, weavers and craftsmen as they provide a unique identity to the country’s textile output. The industry’s efforts to match up to the demand for man-made fibre, the focus has shifted away from these niche areas and that these need to be promoted,” she said.

Ananth Kumar said it would be necessary for India’s textile industry to diversify.

“India is one of the world’s largest producers of cotton; however overall production at the global level is either declining or stagnant. Man-made fibres is the future of the textile industry and a heavy dependence on cotton will only increase the burden on farmers and nature. Producing eco-friendly fibres can help expand the textile market of India,” Kumar said.

Amitabh Kant, CEO NITI Aayog, said the textile sector was crucial to the country’s growth rate.

“The textile sector is the second largest industry in the country and its growth would contribute greatly to the GDP,” he said, adding that the government’s objective was to promote growth while creating jobs.

He emphasized on the need to promote healthy competition between states, build up size and scale, promote investment in the sector and replace the existing incentive-driven model with competency driven model to provide further momentum to the growth of the textile sector.