India’s textile sector is undergoing a long overdue restyling, writes India Inc. Founder & CEO Manoj Ladwa.

The Indian textiles industry is a $100-billion giant, which employs about 50 million people, making it the country’s largest employer in the organised sector. It is also one of the largest contributors to the export trade, accounting for nearly 15 per cent of India’s total exports. This 5,000 year old industry is arguably also the oldest in the world. So, it might appear a bit strange for me to then call this moulting giant a sunrise sector until you realise that the headline figures, as impressive as they are, merely scratch the surface of its untapped potential.

The Indian textile sector already has all the ingredients necessary for global leadership: abundant raw material both natural and man made talented and relatively cost-effective labour, world class design talent and an entrepreneurial class with astute business acumen.

The one key input that this sector lacked so far was sufficient governmental support in the form of freedom from bureaucratic red tape and official zeal to push ahead of all players.

With an ambitious minister like Smriti Irani now in charge of the ministry and the full support of a ‘can-do-will-do’ Indian Prime Minister, that last requirement is now no longer a constraint.

The opportunities are massive. India has a minuscule sub-four per cent share in readymade gar-ments. This is the segment where the maximum value can be captured. It’s also the segment in which India lags behind countries such as China, Bangladesh, Vietnam, the Philippines. There is no reason for this status quo to continue, and I’m glad to see that the Indian government is actively collaborating with the industry to fix the situation.

After decades of gathering dust in the proverbial closet, the textiles sector is witnessing a rejuve-nation.

Global majors such as Zara, Benetton, Levi’s, Marks & Spencer, H&M, as well as Indian majors such as the Aditya Birla Group, Raymond and Bombay Dyeing are investing billions of dollars on both the front and back ends of their operations, to use India both as a sourcing base as well as a market for their products.

Wages are rising in China, diminishing the competitive edge of its producers, many of whom are contract robbers for large Western buyers. These American and European principals, as well as many Chinese companies, are now looking for other destinations to move their factories. It is the perfect opportunity for India to step up its game and capitalise on this shift in the global market. And there is every indication that the Indian industry, with the proactive support of the Narendra Modi government, is working towards doing so.

India is the largest producer of cotton and jute, and the second-largest producer of both silk and man-made fibres in the world. Its large pool of talented workers, abundant local sourcing oppor-tunities for the wide range of materials and the thousands of design school graduates mean India can easily achieve the required dramatic ramp up in capacity. The nearly $1billion Textile Policy unveiled recently aims to facilitate precisely this transition.

The textile sector, which is highly labour intensive, has a huge job potential and can generate mil-lions of low, medium and high skilled jobs for the large battery of young Indians who enter the In-dian employment market every month. The latter being a useful resource, with more and more Indian designers from Dhruv Kapoor and Soham Dave to industry names like Ritu Kumar and Sa-bhyasachi Mukherji taking on a revivalist approach to Indian textiles and fabrics. India’s National Institute of Fashion Design would do well to extend this heritage approach towards training future designers. It is a little-known fact that ancient Rome yes, the fabled Roman Empire had to im-pose a partial embargo on imports of Indian textiles because Indian merchants were taking away a disproportionate amount of Roman gold, creating major problems for the Roman economy.

Such was the draw and value of Indian textiles in an earlier age.

The current shifts in the global market mean the entire western market, as well as those in Africa, South America and the Far East, could be up for grabs. If Irani and her team works closer with In-dia’s Commerce Ministry to explore ways in which to boost exports, especially in Africa, with a major focus on job creation, this market or at least a part of it could easily fall into India’s lap.

The next few years should be an interesting time for Irani, and if she and her team can pull this transition off, they might just restore the historical status Indian textiles once enjoyed in the world.

Manoj Ladwa is the founder of India Inc. and chief executive of MLS Chase Group @manojladwa

With its tremendous untapped potential, Karnataka is an appealing locus for French companies.

France and India have always been very close. The ties between our two countries have nevertheless been strengthened over the years: whether it be culture, defence, the economy, education, politics or science, our relationship has now grown into a full-scale partnership. While our bilateral trade in goods is expected to come near the $10 billion mark this year (€8.6 billion in 2016), it bears reminding that our trade in services has also thrived, with France’s exports and imports to and from India reaching about €1.4 billion and €1.8 billion, respectively.

Sunil Misra, as Director-General of the Indian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers Association (IEEMA), has an inside track on the country’s renewables challenge. He speaks to ‘India Investment Journal’ on what gives India an edge in this sector and how the 175GW target for renewable electricity generation by 2022 is on course.

What are the main factors behind a surge in India’s electrical industry sector?

India has seen significant and continued growth in its GDP and per capita income. There has been a substantial increase in in middle class and also aspirations of people, giving rise to consumption.

This enhanced consumption requires strengthening of the Transmission and Distribution network, which the country is undertaking with full vigour through its recent initiatives in coal and renewable sector. The government has also increased its spending on rural electrification in parallel schemes with IPDS (Integrated Power Development Scheme) and DDUGJY (Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana), which has further spurred the demand of electrical equipment in India.

Once the darling of investors, Maharashtra seemed to have lost its way in the middle but is now charging forward again.

In mid 2015 when a delegation from Taiwanese contract manufacturer Foxconn was scouting for a suitable destination for investments in India and South East Asia, the western state of Maharashtra was not even in their initial list of considerations. States such as Gujarat that has a reputation as being most friendly for business, Karnataka that has an established Information and Technology hub, and Andhra Pradesh which is rebuilding and aggressively wooing potential investors with sops after Telangana was carved out of it, were the first stops. Also in contention were countries like Indonesia and Malaysia that also have a reputation for being investment friendly and share greater cultural linkages with the Chinese firm.

IKEA to set up in Bengaluru

Swedish furniture giant IKEA has finalised Bengaluru as the base for its third Indian store after Hyderabad and Mumbai.

The company has announced plans for 25 stores in India by 2025, with the first set to open in Hyderabad early next year.

In Bengaluru, the firm has acquired a 14-acre land parcel from the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation at Nagasandra on Tumkur road. The IKEA store in Bengaluru is expected to have more than 5 million visitors per year and will be connected to the Nagasandra metro station to offer easy access for the customers.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said in a statement: “IKEA will bring best business practices, many employment opportunities, infrastructure development and contribute to the growth of the retail sector in the State. IKEA will work as a catalyst in our development plans.”

IKEA India CEO Juvencio Maeztu added: “Karnataka is a highly strategic and important market for IKEA. Along with retail stores, IKEA’s purchasing team will also grow local sourcing and engage with local artisan and communities in many projects.”

Japan’s NTT eyes India growth

Japan’s NTT Communications Corporation (NTT Com), an ICT solutions and international communications business within the NTT Group, has announced the launch of its international data network services in India through its affiliate NTT Communications India Network Services (NTTCINS).

The acquisition of this licence in India follows the initiation of construction of the company’s two new data centres in Mumbai and Bangalore, through Netmagic, a subsidiary of NTT Com and one of the leading managed hosting and cloud service providers in India.

NTT Com President and CEO Tetsuya Shoji said: “India has been a key strategic market for us with the accelerating shift of IT services from traditional enterprise data centres into the cloud-based services.

“For the past few years, our business in India has consistently grown over 35 per cent annually. With further expansion of data center foot print and addition of international data network services to our service portfolio, we aim to meet the growing market needs for Mobility, e-Commerce, Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud and Big Data.”

India has embarked on its biggest economic reform in living memory with a mission to implement a consistent one nation, one tax regime. This edition of ‘India Investment Journal’ comes as a timely recap of what the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is all about and demystifies some of the jargon to highlight what exactly this mega reform means for foreign investors eyeing India’s lucrative market.

The Big Story section therefore analyses all the nitty-gritties of this new tax, implemented on July 1, and presents a broad snapshot of facts and figures associated with GST. We have some guest contributions and interesting asides, like an introduction to a lesser-known champion, associated with the topic as well.

China’s clumsy attempts to cramp India’s strategic space are holding back its ties with India.


The popular mood in India, it will be fair to say, is not very favourable towards China at the moment. A daily barrage of blunt official statements and highly jingoistic media reports from the Middle Kingdom warning India of dire consequences – even war – and reminding Indians of the military humiliation it faced in the 1962 border conflict between the two countries is largely to blame for this downturn in the public perception about China.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s programme to make India a major global manufacturing hub is likely to start showing results when the $68-billion of investments committed on the ground start coming on stream over the next couple of years.

Critics complain that the glass is half empty. The Prime Minister’s Make in India initiative has not led to any increase in the share of manufacturing in the country’s GDP and has not generated the huge number of jobs it was expected to.


But that, pardon the pun, is only half the picture. Experts point out that the manufacturing sector begins to contribute to the economy only with a lag of three-four years and point to the pipeline of about $68 billion of foreign investment, much of it in the manufacturing sector, to argue that a better way of describing the glass would be as half full.