ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Mapping Industrial Growth

Trends in Textile

The Textile Industry in India: Changing Trends and Employment Challenges by Bindu Oberoi, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2017; pp xxvii+242, 850.


The book under review, The Textile Industry in India: Changing Trends and Employment Challenges, posits the following conclusions: Post-1991 economic growth and rising exports after the devaluation of the rupee stimulated demand for fabrics and garments. Although employment in the textile and clothing industry rose from the early 1990s to 2004–05, it remained below 1980s levels. Besides, as the share of regular employees in total workers declined, job security deteriorated within the industry. As the prices of synthetic filaments and fibres fell, they became affordable to the low- and middle-income groups. As a result, the consumption of synthetics increased, and the share of cotton fabrics in the monthly per capita purchase of textiles decreased. However, the long-term decline in per capita demand for cotton textiles stabilised in the mid-1990s because the demand for cotton fabrics by the high-income group rose. The income gap, which had expanded since the economic reforms, affected both consumption and production.

India’s economy grew rapidly following the 1991 economic reforms and had stabilised at high levels. Expanded domestic demand and strengthened competition incentivised manufacturers to invest in production capacity. Devaluation of the rupee made Indian exports competitive, and as a result, foreign exchange reserves swelled. In addition to the existing surplus labour force, India’s labour force expanded further due to population growth. Prior to the implementation of the economic reforms, some economists argued that multiple policy distortions had raised the capital intensity of Indian industry. They expected that the reforms would encourage manufacturers to adopt labour-intensive technology. The United Progressive Alliance government had announced the National Manufacturing Policy (NMP), intended to raise the manufacturing sector’s share of gross domestic product (GDP) to 25% and to create 100 million jobs by 2011. Similarly, the Narendra Modi government announced its “Make in India” initiative in 2014, hoping to raise the sector’s share of GDP to 25% and to create 100 million jobs by 2022. However, the subsequent record indicates that the growth in manufacturing has not resulted in large-scale employment.

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Updated On : 27th Nov, 2017
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