IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Technical Textiles Sector

7th December, 2022 Economy


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  • India's premier show on Technical Textiles - ‘Technotex 2023’ will be held in Mumbai from 22nd to 24th February 2023.
  • The largest event of technical textile industry in India is focused on providing its attendees access and networking opportunities to meet top CEOs, manufacturers, industry peers, purchase managers and suppliers from India and around the globe.
  • The event is being organized by the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India in collaboration with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce Industry, under National Technical Textiles Mission (NTTM).


Technical Textiles

  • Technical textiles are defined as textile materials and products used primarily for their technical performance and functional properties rather than their aesthetic or decorative characteristics. 
  • They are manufactured using natural as well as man-made fibres such as Nomex, Kevlar, Spandex, Twaron that exhibit enhanced functional properties such as higher tenacity, excellent insulation, improved thermal resistance These products find end-use application across multiple non-conventional textile industries such as healthcare, construction, automobile, aerospace, sports, defence, agriculture.
  • Examples are Truck covers (PVC coated PES fabrics), car trunk coverings (often needle felts), lashing belts for cargo tie downs, seat covers (knitted materials), seat belts, nonwovens for cabin air filtration (also covered in indutech), airbags, parachutes, boats (inflatable), air balloons.

Global Market Size

  • The demand for technical textiles was pegged at $ 165 Bn in the year 2018 and is expected to grow up to $ 220 Bn by 2025, at a CAGR of 4% from 2018-25.
  • The Asia-Pacific has been leading the technical textiles sector by capturing 40% of the global market, while North America and Western Europe stand at 25% & 22% respectively.


Technical Textile in India

  • India is the second largest producer of polyester in the world and is now emerging as a key player in technical textiles industry contributing to a market size of $ 19 Bn.
  • Technical textile accounts for approximately 13% of India’s total textile and apparel market and contributes to India’s GDP at 0.7%.
  • There is a huge potential to fulfil a large demand gap as the consumption of technical textiles in India is still only at 5-10% against 30-70% in some of the advanced countries.
  • Hence, a National Technical Textiles Mission has been set up that aims at an average growth rate of 15-20% to increase the domestic market size of technical textiles to $ 40-50 Bn by the year 2024; through market development, market promotion, international technical collaborations, investment promotions and Make in India initiative.
  • India’s technical textiles market shows a promising growth of 20% from $ 16.6 Bn in 2017-18 to $ 28.7 Bn by 2020-21, as per the Baseline Survey of technical textile industry by Ministry of Textiles.
  • India’s exports of technical textiles in 2018-19 is estimated at $ 1.9 Bn, which has grown at a CAGR of 4% over the past four years.
  • Products such as flexible intermediate bulk containers, tarpaulins, jute carpet backing, hessian, fishnets, surgical dressings, crop covers, etc. that are not very R&D intensive have been able to capture a substantial share in the overall exports.
  • India’s imports of technical textiles have increased at a CAGR of 8% within the last four years, from $ 1,635 Mn to $ 2,209 Mn in 2018-19.
  • Unlike the conventional textile industry in India, which is highly export intensive, the technical textile industry is still import dependent. Products such as diapers, polypropylene spun-bond fabric for disposables, wipes, protective clothing, hoses, webbings for seat belts etc. form a substantial part of the country’s imports.
  • In India, production is largely concentrated in the small-scale segments such as canvas tarpaulin, carpet backing, woven sacks, shoelaces, soft luggage, zip fasteners, stuffed toys, fabrication of awnings, canopies and blinds etc.


Government Initiatives to Boost Technical Textiles Market

  1. Harmonized System of Nomenclature (HSN) Codes for Technical Textile

In 2019, the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India dedicated 207 HSN codes to technical textiles to help in monitoring the data of import and export, in providing financial support and other incentives to manufacturers. The purpose of this classification is to increase international trade, and enable the market size to grow up to $ 26 Bn by the year 2020-21.


  1. 100% FDI under Automatic Route Government of India allows 100% FDI under automatic route.

International technical textile manufacturers such as Ahlstrom, Johnson & Johnson, Du Pont Procter & Gamble, 3M, SKAPS, Kimberly Clark, Terram, Maccaferri, Strata Geosystems have already initiated operations in India.


  1. Technotex

India It is a flagship event organised by the Ministry of Textiles, in collaboration with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) and comprises of exhibitions, conferences and seminars with participation of stakeholders from across the global technical textile value chain.

  1. National Technical Textiles Mission

With a view to position the country as a global leader in technical textiles, the CCEA has given its approval to set up a National Technical Textiles Mission with a total outlay of $ 194 Mn in February 2020.

The Mission shall be set up for a four year implementation period from FY 2020-24 and will have the following four components:

  • Component - I (Research, Innovation and Development)
  • Component – II (Promotion and Market Development)
  • Component - III (Export Promotion)
  • Component- IV (Education, Training, Skill Development)



Technology Mission on Technical Textiles (TMTT)

Centres of Excellence Ministry of Textiles had launched Technology Mission on Technical Textiles (TMTT) with two mini-missions for a period of five years from 2010-15 which entailed the creation of the following eight Centres of Excellence to provide infrastructure support, lead research and conduct tests of various technical textiles.


Amended Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (ATUFS)

The Ministry of Textiles implemented ATUFS in January 2016, for a period of seven years. ATUFS’s larger objective is to improve exports and indirectly promote investments in the textile machinery. Under ATUFS, technology upgradation and CIS are offered to entities that are engaged in manufacturing textile and technical textile products under the guidance of TAMC (Technical Advisory Monitoring Committee).


Capitalising the $ 1.4 Trn Infrastructure Fund

Aligning with the Prime Minister’s vision of achieving a $ 5 Trn economy, the Finance Minister unveiled a $ 1.4 Trn national infrastructure pipeline in December 2019 which will be implemented in the next five years. The projects identified include energy, road, railway, urban development, irrigation and health sectors, where technical textiles can be used extensively.


Samarth (Scheme for capacity building in textile sector)

The scheme had an estimated budget of Rs. 1,300 Crores and aimed to train 10 lakh persons over a period of 3 years (2017-20). This scheme has tried to address the shortage of skilled manpower in textile sector, including technical textiles.


National Technical Textiles Mission (NTTM)

This is the most important, exclusive and ambitious scheme till date and it aims to position the country as a global leader in technical textiles market. Its aim is to take domestic market size of technical textiles industry to US$ 40-50 Billion by the year 2024 with an average growth rate of 15-20% per annum.

Way Ahead

Developing a National Textile Policy

In order to develop the textile industry into a strong and vibrant one, meet the growing needs of the people and contribute to sustainable growth of employment and economic growth, it is imperative that we have a sound and dynamic National Textile Policy. The National Textile Policy was released in 2000. With the textiles industry growing by leaps and bounds, there is a need for revising and updating the national textiles policy.

The revised policy should take stock of the changing domestic and global needs, acknowledge the potential of “the fourth industrial revolution”, improves the overall supply chain, including structural reforms to improve present trade practices. The policy should constitute an elaborate strategy on how to build the technical textiles industry, focusing on institutionalisation, standardisation, measures to deal with sustainability, R&D efforts to procure the fibres within India.

Research and Development

The technical textile sector in India is at a nascent stage and therefore R&D play a critical role to gain a lead in this sector. Recently, the government has also suggested creating a special fund for R&D worth $ 13 Mn in technical textiles. Along with these, more efforts will have to be made in the direction of fostering a well-developed R&D ecosystem



Creation of a National Centre for Research in Technical Textiles

The formation of a ‘National Centre of Research in Technical Textiles’ may be proposed as a first step towards creating a formal institutional structure. This may be established within an existing institution or as a separate entity.


FDI and formation of Joint Ventures

One of the effective ways to bridge this technological gap is to bring in Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) from leading countries such as Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Japan, Korea and Italy. Some global companies may consider bringing their technologies to India for supplying into domestic and overseas markets.

Import substitution & boosting domestic production

The huge cost of importing machinery into the country is only going to pose immense burden. Hence, there is a clear need to substitute imports through indigenous technology development, Joint Ventures and FDIs which will further propel the Make in India campaign to greater heights.


Creation of machine manufacturing clusters

The need to bolster the existing SITP scheme has been realised by the Ministry of Textiles. Having a dedicated park to manufacturing of textile machines in the country will prove beneficial to turn around the entire value chain and fill the existing gaps. The park should have state-of-the-art support infrastructure, developed land, uninterrupted power supply and other utilities for manufacturing and training centres for skilled manpower.


Closing Thought

  • Technical textiles industry is at a nascent stage in India and hence, holds a vast potential for growth. With the government’s aim to create world class infrastructure in the country, in addition to the implementation of several policies and schemes to boost the textile sector, technical textiles is poised for growth.



Technical textiles, a sunrise sector, has become even more relevant during the Covid-19 crisis when the global manufacturing have come to a grinding halt and the ban on export of critical medical equipment including N95 face masks and protective gears, have made imports to India nearly impossible. India was entirely import dependent for PPE kits. From manufacturing 0 PPE kits in March, it soon rose to manufacturing 2.5 lakh a day in 60 days becoming the second largest manufacturer after China. Today, India stands to produce around 4.5 lakh PPEs and more than 1.5 crore masks a day.

 By transforming a Covid-19 crisis to an opportunity, India has proven its ability to innovate and rise to the challenge with limited resources and time. Therefore, it is even more essential for the government and industry to collaborate to boost technical textiles, a high value segment of this sector.