During the Independence struggle of India, the Swadeshi movement gathered momentum.
Swadeshi means made in one’s own country (India) and the aim of the movement was to boycott foreign goods in order to encourage people to focus on goods made in India and to escalate their production within the country.
Post-Independence as the nation is marching towards development, the Government of India under the guidance of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has evoked the call of Swadeshi once again through the ‘Make in India’ campaign. The campaign was launched by the Prime Minister on 25th September 2014. The objective of the new Make in India campaign is to encourage Foreign Direct Investment in India and persuade innovation in technology and products to give an impetus to the national manufacturing. The final goal is to augment the export trade of the country through manufacturing propulsion. The Make in India initiative is targeting 25 sectors of manufacturing, which includes the Textile and Garment sector.
India is the second largest producer of cotton and silk and also the second largest manufacturer of textiles. Over 45 million people are employed directly in the industry, so it is a big source of income generation holding further potential that cannot be ignored.
India is also home to a huge resource of skilled manpower in textiles and garments. The relative lower cost of production compared to competing countries, also offers investment benefits in the country.
The garment and textile sector seems to be a huge affirmation to the achievements of Make in India campaign. The favourable policies under the Indian Government’s initiative are leading the sector towards growth. Foreign direct investment (FDI) in textile sector increased to US$ 1,587.8 million in FY15 from US$ 1,424.9 million in FY14. The government also plans to give a financial support of US$ 4.25 billion to the garment and textile industry.
In the brief span since the launch of Make in India, the garment sector showed a record escalation of exports to its largest market, the US, in 2014. The excellence in US market can be attributed to the growth of domestic cotton supplies in India. India is coming up as the world’s largest cotton grower surpassing China. Certain global factors like stabilisation of US economy also worked for the apparel industry.
A couple of years ago, 65 percent of the garments exported to US and Europe was from China. Now China is facing stiff competition from India in this sector. India has taken over 25-30 percent of the garment and textile export market, bringing China’s exports down to 40 percent.
With the influx of FDI, the Indian manufacturers are investing in automation and other high end technologies to increase their production. Increase in availability of raw materials for fabric is also becoming a major driver for apparel manufacturing that has a direct impact on exports.
While China is struggling with high manufacturing costs and power shortages, and Bangladesh has its own share of labour safety issues, India with its advantage of manufacturing costs and better labour conditions, has a positive path ahead. Based on the current scenario the trade pundits have forecasted a favourable upward trend for the Indian garment and textile sector.
The Indian apparel industry has been registering a global growth of 17.6 % in apparel exports, which figures out to $8.3 billion for the fiscal 2014-15, as per the Apparel Export Promotion Council.
Apart from exports the increasing domestic demand of apparels is also leading to the growth of manufacturing along with friendlier Government policies. The culture of consumerism and the disposable income are getting bigger in India, acting as drivers for increased garment manufacturing to meet the swelling demand.
The fashion industry can have a transforming impact on the Make in India campaign. Marrying aesthetics with Indian textiles and innovating fabrics that can be produced locally at lower costs employing rural artisans will be a huge boom to the Indian garment sector. It offers the dual advantage of providing rural employment and falling back on our own resources, which are essential for National growth.
Supporting the Make in India initiative, the fashion industry also joined hands to hold fashion shows focussing on the Make in India concept. India’s high profile fashion shows like Lakme Fashion Week and Amazon India Fashion Week have been working around the theme of Make in India. They have been reviving Indian fabrics and crafts, contemporising them and offering a global stage to these creative modern attires. The presentation by designer Sanjay Garg at the recent Amazon India Fashion Week revived an ancient Indian fabric called Mashru. Using innovation the designer made this long lost, heavy Indian fabric, lighter and wearable. Such designers who can merge technology with aesthetics, are key to India’s future of garment manufacturing.
The Indian fashion industry is a huge export source for the global fashion arena as far as fabrics and apparels are concerned. The creations by modern designers of India are also being accepted by esteemed celebrities overseas. Judi Dench seems to love creations by Abu Jani- Sandeep Khosla.
Katie Perry has put Manish Arora on the world map with the circus carousel dress. Ritu Kumar and Shane & Falguni Peacock are also decorating the red carpets of Hollywood with their creations.
India’s major exports happen through the readymade garment sector and the high end apparels are also raising their contribution in this niche sector.
The high-end online apparel portals like our website, strandofsilk.com are also taking Indian fashion to international doorsteps. Such companies also boost the Make in India concept as they procure and curate collections from designers in India and present a global market to them. International consumers looking for premium designer brands from India can satiate their requirements through such websites. Such online sellers who have also revolutionised Indian customer service in terms of returns and exchanges hold new promise for the Indian apparel Industry.
The success of the Make in India call depends on the combined efforts of the raw material producer like the cotton growers, the textile manufacturing industry, apparel manufacturing industry, the fashion designers and the end retailers selling domestically as well as internationally. The textile and garment sector has already given a favourable outlook to the Make in India campaign. With things moving towards a brighter side, the day is not far when India emerges as a global leader in the textile and garments sector.
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