TT: How big is the technical textile industry globally? What is India's share in that?
Global market size of technical textiles was around US $256 billion in 2019 and average growth rate is 4 per cent (CAGR). The Indian market of technical textiles is over US $19 billion (Rs1.45 lakh crores) with an average growth rate of 12 per cent (CAGR).
TT: Which segments are seeing a higher growth rate globally?
As per the International Trade Centre (ITC) at 6-digit HS Code level data for the financial year 2019-20, the top globally traded technical textile products are in the categories of medical-hygiene, industrial, protective, automotive textiles and various types of nonwoven fabrics. The traded value in each product category ranges from US $14 to 22 billion.
TT: At what rate is it growing - globally, Asia, China, Europe, India and how India can progress further?
Top four global exporters of technical textiles are US-23 per cent, Western Europe-22 per cent, China-13 per cent, Japan-7 per cent. India's current global share is around 6 per cent with 12 per cent CAGR. Indian technical textile industry can grow exponentially if the appropriate strategy and eco-systems are in place. To accelerate the export growth rate, there is an urgent need to form an Export Promotion Council (EPC) exclusively for technical textiles. However, the National Technical Textile Mission (NTTM) scheme on technical textiles and Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme on technical textiles and MMF announced by the government - both put together can give boost to the technical textile industry in coming years.
TT: Which segments are witnessing a higher growth rate in India and future potential segments?
Medical, hygiene and packaging are some of the largest markets in India. Indian defence is one of the largest consumers of a variety of technical textiles. Agriculture and horticulture, construction sector- building, highways/roads, railways and dams (geosynthetics), fire fighters, leisure sports, etc are the other major growing markets in India.
TT: How is the export market of Indian technical textile like?
The Ministry of Textiles and Ministry of Commerce & Industries notified 207 technical textile items/products in early 2019, though many products are yet to be added in the list because our industry is booking them under "Others" category in absence of specific HSN codes for these products.
India's export in FY 2019-20 is about USD 2.04 billion for 207 technical textile items. The growth rate is approximately 12-13 per cent over last year and import is also almost similar to export. Though there is a dip in the export/import value in the FY 2020-21 because of the Covid pandemic situation in the country as well as in the world.
TT: Which are the key technical textiles products exported and imported?
As per the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCIS) data, the trend in export and import of technical textile products varies from year-to-year depending on the domestic and global market situations. In the year 2019-20, the list of top few products are given below-
a) Top few exported technical textile products:
- Nonwoven: Nonwovens of man-made filaments (weighing 25 g/sqm to70 g/sqm), wadding of man-made fibres, nonwovens made of jute and other textile materials.
- Geotech: Geogrids and Geo-composites.
- Hometech: Pile & Chenille fabrics, carpets and other textile floor coverings
- Packtech: Flexible Intermediate Bulk Container (FIBC) and jute hessian & sacks.
b) Top few imported technical textile products-
- Meditech: adhesive gauze bandage, tampons and adult diaper.
- Protech: industrial gloves, extreme weather garments and bullet proof jackets.
- Mobiltech: nylon tyre yarn and nylon & polyamide tyre cord fabrics.
- Geotech: geo-composites and non-metallic gabions
TT: What are the raw materials imported? And what raw materials are available and that can be exported?
Almost all the key raw materials used to manufacture high value technical textile products are imported to India. The key raw materials are- high performance fibres, namely aramid, carbon, nylon 66, ultra-high modulus polyethylene fibres, Flame Retardant (FR) viscose, FR acrylic, antistatic, ceramic fibres, some grades of glass fibres/rovings and yarns.
India is lacking in production of the above raw materials because of various reasons such as non-availability of appropriate technology, lack of research and development efforts and paucity of funds, current demand of these products in India are limited to make any such project viable unless rest of the quantity is exported.
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)