Apparel industry should focus on vertical integration to benefit from PLI scheme: Textile ministry

Indian apparel industry must focus on vertical integration to increase its scale and size and to benefit from the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme, says  Upendra Prasad Singh, secretaryin the ministry of textiles.

Speaking at the 44th Foundation Day of Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) on Tuesday, Singh said, “Aapparel and garmenting is not very investment centric but it is very important from employment point of view. Perhaps, there is a need for backward integration and more of you can get into integrated value-chain like spinning and weaving.”
Virtually addressing the Foundation Day, the textiles secretary said that along with the PLI scheme, the government is committed to make the Prime Minister Mega Integrated Textile Region and Apparel (PM MITRA) scheme a success. The idea is not to just have a world class infrastructure but also a thriving industry there, he said.
Stating that textile has always been among the top priorities of the government, Singh said, “There are a lot of big opportunities. The demand continues to be robust and the China plus one sourcing strategy by the West is certainly a great opportunity for us.” It all depended on how good, efficient and integrated the Indian apparel industry is and how it increases its size and scale, he added. 
“AEPC has a big role to play. Let us not get into just the macro figure, let us get into the micro level. Let us go product by product and country by country,” he added.
“We should be in a position to breach $20 billion apparel exports by next fiscal or the year after that,” Singh said, adding that the country’s textile exports can increase from the current $40 billion to $100 billion in the next five years.
AEPC chairman Narendra Goenka shared the journey of the AEPC since its establishment in 1978 from a quota monitoring and export promotion body to the council that today offers services ranging from skilling, assessment, market intelligence, advocacy, capacity building programmes on financial risks, compliance management, IPR issues, AI and technology driven production innovations, lean and six sigma, circularity, sustainability, among others.
Goenka listed the key priorities for the apparel sector, namely, leverage policy support for improving scales, product diversification, leveraging the upcoming FTAs, creating new USPs based on sustainability and responsible business, use of technology and AI for leaner supply chain, and better branding. 
AEPC vice chairman Sudhir Sekhri spoke about the initiatives taken by AEPC for the holistic growth of the apparel sector.