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The Indian textile industry has a significant presence in the economy as well as in the international textile economy. Its contribution to the Indian economy is manifested in terms of its contribution to the industrial production, employment generation and foreign exchange earnings. It contributes 20 percent of industrial production, 9 percent of excise collections, 18 percent of employment in the industrial sector, nearly 20 percent to the countrys total export earning and 4 percent to the Gross Domestic Product.

In human history, past and present can never ignore the importance of textile in a civilization decisively affecting its destinies, effectively changing its social scenario. A brief but thoroughly researched feature on Indian textile culture. 


India has been well known for her textile goods since very ancient times. The traditional textile industry of India was virtually decayed during the colonial regime. However, the modern textile industry took birth in India in the early nineteenth century when the first textile mill in the country was established at fort gloster near Calcutta in 1818. The cotton textile industry, however, made its real beginning in Bombay, in 1850s. The first cotton textile mill of Bombay was established in 1854 by a Paris cotton merchant then engaged in overseas and internal trade. Indeed, the vast majority of the early mills were the handiwork of Paris merchants engaged in yarn and cloth trade at home and Chinese and African markets. The first cotton mill in Ahmadabad, which was eventually to emerge as a rival centre to Bombay, was established in 1861. The spread of the textile industry to Ahmadabad was largely due to the Gujarati trading class.

The cotton textile industry made rapid progress in the second half of the nineteenth century and by the end of the century there were 178 cotton textile mills; but during the year 1900 the cotton textile industry was in bad state due to the great famine and a number of mills of Bombay and Ahmadabad were to be closed down for long periods. The two world War and the Swadeshi movement provided great stimulus to the Indian cotton textile industry. However, during the period 1922 to 1937 the industry was in doldrums and during this period a number of the Bombay mills changed hands. The second World War, during which textile import from Japan completely stopped, however, brought about an unprecedented growth of this industry. The number of mills increased from 178 with 4.05 lakh looms in 1901 to 249 mills with 13.35 lakh looms in 1921 and further to 396 mills with over 20 lakh looms in 1941. By 1945 there were 417 mills employing 5.10 lakh workers.

The cotton textile industry is rightly described as a Swadeshi industry because it was developed with indigenous entrepreneurship and capital and in the pre-independence era the Swadeshi movement stimulated demand for Indian textile in the country. 

The partition of the country at the time of independence affected the cotton textile industry also. The Indian union got 409 out of the 423 textiles mills of the undivided India. 14 mills and 22 per cent of the land under cotton cultivation went to Pakistan. Some mills were closed down for some time. For a number of years since independence, Indian mills had to import cotton from Pakistan and other countries.

After independence, the cotton textile industry made rapid strides under the Plans. Between 1951 and 1982 the total number of spindles doubled from 11 million to 22 million. It increased further to well over 26 million by 1989-90.


Textile constitutes the single largest industry in India. The segment of the industry during the year 2000-01 has been positive. The production of cotton declined from 156 lakh bales in 1999-2000 to 1.40 lakh bales during 2000-01. Production of man-made fibre increased from 835 million kgs in 1999-2000 to 904 million kgs during the year 2000-01 registering a growth of 8.26%. The production of spun yarn increased to 3160 million kgs during 2000-01 from 3046 million kgs during 1999-2000 registering a growth of 3.7%. The production of man-made filament yarn registered a growth of 2.91% during the year 1999-2000 increasing from 894 million kgs to 920 million kgs. The production of fabric registered a growth of 2.7% during the year 1999-2000 increasing from 39,208 million sq mtrs to 40,256 million sq mtrs. The production of mill sector declined by 2.6% while production of handloom, powerloom and hosiery sector increased by 2%, 2.7% and 5.1% respectively. The exports of textiles and garments increased from Rs. 455048 million to Rs. 552424 million, registering a growth of 21%. Growth in the textile industry in the year 2003-2004 was Rs. 1609 billion. And during 2004-05 production of fabrics touched a peak of 45,378 million squre meters. In the year 2005-06 up to November, production of fabrics registered a further growth of 9 percent over the corresponding period of the previous year. With the growing awareness in the industry of its strengths and weakness and the need for exploiting the opportunities and averting threats, the government has initiated many policy measures as follows.

The Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (TUFS) was launched in April 99 to provide easy access to capital for technological upgradation by various segments of the Industry. The Technology Mission on Cotton (TMC) was launched in February 2000 to address issues relating to the core fibre of Cotton like low productivity, contamination, obsolete ginning and pressing factories, lack of storage facilities and marketing infrastructure A New Long Term Textiles and Garments Export Entitlement (Quota) Policies 2000-2004 was announced for a period of five years with effect from 1.1.2000 to 31.12.2004 covering the remaining period of the quota regime. 

In the current year Budget 2006-2007 states the measures for Textile Industry as follows

► Allocation to the Technology Upgradatio...

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