TT: Starting with 25 companies in 2010 and today with 300+ members --- what are the key initiatives/activities undertaken by ITTA till date?
ITTA has currently over 325 members and they contributed 75.31 per cent to the total exports of technical textile products from India in FY 2019-20. It represents the entire technical textile value chain from raw material to finished goods producers, machinery manufacturers, consultants, Centre of Excellence (COE) and R&D institutions. The objective of ITTA is to promote, support, develop and increase the production, consumption, and export of technical textiles to make India a powerhouse of technical textiles in the days to come.
Acting as "The Voice of Indian Technical Textile Industry", ITTA regularly takes up issues raised by the industry members with the government bodies. Policy advocacy with central and various state governments is another key activity. As a result of the initiatives taken by ITTA and providing extensive inputs from the industry given by ITTA, some of the major policies recently announced by the government are listed below-
- National Technical Mission (NTTM) with an outlay of Rs 1480 crores is undertaken by GOI to technical textiles to be implemented in 2020-2024.
- Formulation of Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme of Rs 10683 crores to boost technical textile and MMF sectors and encourage exports.
- 92 Applications identified for mandatory use across 9 different user Ministries.
- For the first time, 207 HSN codes for technical textile products notified in foreign trade policy in January 2019. More codes are to be added.
- ITTA members represent nine technical textile sub-committees of Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). More than 350 Indian standards were either revised or developed and about 100 more are under development.
- Help members to resolve Amended Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (ATUFs) issues, participate in international exhibitions/conferences at a discounted rate due to our strategic alliances with these international organisers.
ITTA is now connected with international organisations. It has recently signed MOU with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of The World Bank Group, to grow and develop international quality PPE coveralls and masks industry in India.
During last few years, ITTA has signed MOU with the Textile Institute (TI), Manchester, UK to promote technical textiles in India in collaboration with them. It also signed MOU with Taiwan Technical Textiles Association (TTTA) and a member of EDANA to promote technical textiles in India.
TT: What are the long-term goals of ITTA?
ITTA has many future plans to help the industry grow at a faster pace. Some of them are:
- ITTA has recently started certificate courses on various segments of technical textiles. Courses on protech and meditech have been successfully completed recently. More than 100 participants from industry, students and entrepreneurs interested to invest in technical textiles took part in it. More courses covering key technical textile segments are in the pipeline.
- Efforts are on to make tie-ups with many other international organisations.
- Contribute in developing Indian standards.
- Cover more products under the umbrella of technical textiles in addition to 207 HS codes and increase the list of mandatory products.
TT: What has been the impact of Covid on technical textiles in India - any segment that has seen an uptick in demand? What is being done or has been done or planned to meet the challenges in a pandemic-ridden world?
During this Covid pandemic period, meditech sector of technical textile has significantly contributed in terms of developing and supplying PPE coveralls and various types of face masks (2/3 ply, N95, N99 types). The production of PPE coveralls rose from as low as a couple of thousand pieces to 4.50 to 5.00 lakh pieces per day in India by strengthening the supply chain. Number of labs for testing these products also showed a significant increase to cope up with the testing load. All these happened within 4-5 months which showed the tenacity and capability of our industry. Basic spun bond nonwoven fabric was available in sufficient quantity, but melt blown nonwovens were not enough. At that time there were only 4-5 manufacturers of melt blown nonwovens, but the same number has now increased to nearly 50.
The demand for these products is going to remain for a longer time both in the domestic and global market. In addition to meeting domestic demand, the Indian medical textile industry should look for increasing exports. For this, the industry has to work towards developing PPE products of high quality international standards. Also it will require to plug-in few gaps, such as setting up critical testing facilities of N95/N99 masks, manufacturing machinery, testing instruments, implementing quality management systems and obtaining country specific product certifications. (PC)