Centre to set up labs for testing marquee textiles meant for exports

Textile testing refers to different quality tests performed on a textile product before it is released to the market. (Photo: Mint)
Textile testing refers to different quality tests performed on a textile product before it is released to the market. (Photo: Mint)

Summary

  • India is the world's third-largest exporter of textiles and apparel with a 4.6% share of global trade, and ranks among the top five exporters in several textile categories

New Delhi: With sub-standard pashmina shawls and silk exports hurting India’s image, the Union textiles ministry is planning to set up new laboratories and upgrade existing ones to test and validate pure textiles, including pashmina, silk, cotton and coarse-wool products before they are shipped, two persons aware of the matter said.

This initiative aims to curb exports of poor-quality products to the global market, helping improve India's standing in the international textile industry, they said.

The upgraded labs are expected to help enhance the quality of textile products and boost exports by instilling greater confidence among buyers.

“The plan is to establish new testing facilities in almost every textile cluster so that certification of fabrics and finished products gets validated by the government-run testing centres," the first person said.

The new testing facilities are proposed to be established in almost every textile cluster such as Gujarat, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Karnataka. Besides, upgrade of existing laboratories is also on anvil.

Testing fabric is crucial to ensuring that our products maintain their intended physical and chemical properties over time, safeguarding against potential harm, the person cited above said.

Textile testing refers to different quality tests performed on a textile product before it is released to the market.

"The labs will play an important role in validating the authenticity of technical textile products. For textiles like flame-resistant protective gear or industrial-use fabrics, it's essential to ensure that the product will perform as intended, serving its functional purpose effectively," the second person said.

Queries sent to the textiles ministry's secretary and spokesperson remained unanswered till press time.

According to latest government data, textile exports totaled $30.96 billion during April 2023-February 2024, down from $32.33 billion a year ago.

India is the world's third-largest exporter of textiles and apparel with a 4.6% share of global trade, and ranks among the top five exporters in several textile categories. Exports are projected to reach $65 billion by FY26.

Setting up of new labs and augmenting the existing ones are done by textile committees, which report to the textiles ministry. These committees act as a facilitator to the textile trade, industry and other stakeholders, including state governments.

Raja M Shanmugam, former president of the Tirupur Exporters' Association, hailed the government's plan. “The plan would not be entirely new for the cluster. It builds on existing strengths or initiatives," Shanmugam said.

However, the textile committee-run testing facilities would benefit traders by ensuring competitive pricing, he added.

Among other initiatives, the ministry has proposed the development of a showroom at the pashmina dehairing plant premises in Leh to provide marketing support for finished products made from pashmina wool. Additionally, they government plans to allocate land for fodder to increase the availability of green fodder for pashmina goats.

The government has identified five key focus areas to strengthen India's textiles ecosystem. These include addressing skill gaps and infrastructure through initiatives such as PM Mega Integrated Textile Regions and Apparel (PM-MITRA) parks, the production-linked incentive scheme, Technical Textiles Mission, Samarth and the National Handloom Development Programme.

The textiles ministry is also hoping to attract 95,000 crore in investments that will create about 2.25 million new jobs in the next 4-6 years. The ministry is eyeing 25,000 crore in investments through the production-linked incentive scheme (PLI) and another 70,000 crore through the PM-MITRA parks scheme.

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