New SIMA chairman urges govt to announce new technology mission for cotton

Sundararaman, Managing Director of the Coimbatore-based Shiva Texyarn Limited, has been elected as the Chairman of Southern India Mills’ Association for 2023-24 -

November 23, 2023 There is an urgent need to announce a new technology mission for cotton with sizable funds by the Centre. This has become imperative as over 7 million farmers and 35 million people in the textile value chain are directly dependent upon the availability of quality cotton at an internationally competitive rates, said KS Sundararaman, the newly elected Chairman of Southern India Mills’ Association (SIMA).

Sundararaman, Managing Director of the Coimbatore-based Shiva Texyarn Limited, was elected as the Chairman for 2023-24 at the association’s 64th Annual General Meeting held on Thursday.

Durai Palanisamy, Executive Director, Pallava Textiles P Limited, Erode, was elected as Deputy Chairman and S Krishnakumar, Managing Director, Sulochana Cotton Spinning Mills P Ltd, Tiruppur, as Vice-Chairman, per a release.

India’s average cotton productivity is only around 430 kg per hectare, while more than 20 cotton producing countries achieve above 1,500 kg per hectare on an average. While appreciating the pilot project initiated by the Ministry of Agriculture at the intervention of Ministry of Textiles with a budget outlay of ₹44.2 crore, Sundararaman said that there is an urgent need to import modern seed technology and adopt global best practices in agronomy. With this, farmers’ income will increase by threefold and the country will become a dominant player in cotton textiles.

The Indian textiles and clothing industry has been facing challenges in the recent past mainly due to the structural issues on raw material front, tariff and non-tariff barriers, high cost of production and scale of operation, high transport and capital cost and other external factors.

Notably, this is the second largest employment provider next only to agriculture, generating jobs to over 110 million people, fetching over ₹30,000 crore GST revenue and $44 billion forex earnings, the release said.

The industry has been concentrating on cotton and its textile products taking advantage of the abundant availability of home grown cotton, which was available at 5 per cent to 10 per cent lower than the international cotton price.

However, this advantage has been eroded in recent years due to the dominance of multinational cotton traders, levy of 11 per cent import duty and speculative trading on the MCX cotton futures platform. The man-made-fibre (MMF) and yarn producers had all along been protected by huge anti-dumping duty up to 23 per cent.

He appreciated the Centre’s initiatives in removing the anti-dumping duty on all raw materials, especially polyester staple fibre and viscose staple fibre—the major MMF raw materials. However, the smooth supply of MMF and filaments have been stopped due to the new Quality Control Orders as BIS has not considered most of the raw material suppliers to India, he said.

The prohibition of imports under the Advance Authorisation Scheme has created panic. He has stated that the MMF value chain has established its nominated business based on certain commitments. They also have huge export obligations under the EPCG, as they have made huge investments in the imported machinery by availing duty-free concession, the release said.
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