Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday highlighted how Indian textiles represent the rich cultural diversity of the country. The Prime Minister made the statement while inaugurating a three-day global textile and handicrafts event, Textiles India 2017, at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar.
Narendra Modi said, the time is right for India to focus on textiles exports in a big way, and urged states to take steps to promote clothing diversity in the global market. “I think, the time has now come for us to concentrate on textiles exports in a big way. India is a country with diverse culture, fashion, and traditions. This diversity is clearly reflected in the variety of clothing culture present in different regions,” Prime Minister said.
The event was attended by Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani, Gujarat Governor O P Kohli, Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani, his Andhra Pradesh counterpart Chandrababu Naidu, MoS Ajay Tamta, textiles secretary Anant Kumar Singh and a bevy of corporate leaders from India and abroad.
He said the intervention should start from production level right through to the export of garments and should meet specific requirements of domestic as well as export markets. “We should formulate an action plan to study and map the requirements of people in large global markets and monitor new trends in fashion and textiles in these areas on a real-time basis,” the prime minister said.
He stressed on innovation and research in textiles for the industry to grow and tap new markets. The NDA government has taken several steps to boost textiles industry, which is the second largest employment generating sector after agriculture. “Ours is a nation of aspirational youth, who wish to spend on textiles, apparel, and handcrafted lifestyle products,” Modi said.
Highlighting how the textile industry was a key marker of India’s cultural diversity, Modi spoke about 15th-century mystic poet Kabir whose writing influenced the Bhakti movement and recited his couplet Jhini jhini bini chadariya (the intricately woven blanket).
Modi said, “While attending the first ‘National Handloom Day’ event in Chennai two years ago, I met a weaver from Varanasi who gave me a stole, he may be present here today. It (the stole) had a popular couplet of Kabir Das handwoven. It goes like this, “Jhini jhini bini chadariya, kahe ke tana, kahe ke bharni, kaun taar se bini chadariya.
“Kabir himself used to weave cloth and dye it and was known to look for life’s truth through his work and expressed the same through his couplets. Clothing has close links to our cultural diversity and so many places and cities are well-known due to the textile industry they have. Be it silk from Kanchipuram, Varanasi, and Assam or Pashmina from Kashmir, muslin of Bengal, chikan work of Lucknow, handwoven ikat work of Odisha and Telangana, Patan’s Patola from Gujarat or shawls from Kutch from centuries this textile tradition have given an identity to these regions. You will never find this diversity in any other nation.”
In his address, the Prime Minister said that India today is described as “a bright spot” in the global economy and that it has become an attractive investment destination. The PM said the textile industry had been mentioned in ancient Indian texts and many world travelers, who visited India, also wrote paeans on its clothing and the country’s diversity and greatness.
The inaugural ceremony saw many corporate leaders hailing rolling out of GST as a ‘historic decision’. They included Richard Heald from UK India Business Council, Gautam Singhania, CMD of Raymond Group, David Cummings, president & CEO US Polo Assn, Sanjay Lalbhai, CMD of Arvind Ltd, and Kihak Sung, chairman of Korea Federation of Textile Industries (KOFOTI).
“The domestic market for apparel and lifestyle products, currently estimated at $85 billion, is expected to reach $160 billion by 2025. This growth will be driven by the rising middle class,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said. He also said that the government’s industry-friendly initiatives like repealing of 1,200 outdated laws and carrying out 7,000 reforms have resulted in India becoming a preferred investment destination.
“The textiles industry has a pivotal position in the Indian economy. It is strong and competitive across the value chain. India has an abundant supply of raw material like wool, cotton, silk, jute and man-made fiber. In fact, it is the world’s largest producer of cotton and jute, and second largest producer of silk and man-made fiber,” the prime minister said.
“This provides us the distinct advantage of backward integration, which many other countries may not have. In addition, India has strong spinning, weaving, knitting, and apparel manufacturing capacities. Young, skilled labor is available at a reasonable cost,” Narendra Modi added.