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The revival of India’s textile industry offers Prime Minister Modi hope for jobs

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At Texport Industries’ factory in southern India, thousands of workers, mostly women, turn yarn and fabric into T-shirts, shirts, spaghetti tops and children’s clothing for Tommy Hilfiger and Coles’ U.S. customers. processing. After being overtaken by neighboring Bangladesh and hit by the COVID-19 pandemic in recent years, India’s garment factories are now near capacity utilization. Elections in the country in 2024. “We were very busy,” said Parashuram, a manager at his Texport factory known by one name, as a group of 60 new recruits practiced sewing. “We are always looking for workers.”

This is a big problem for a country that has to create millions of jobs every year just to keep up with the number of young people. Nurturing people flock to the job market. India is the world’s fifth largest exporter of travel and travel goods, accounting for her 4% share of the $840 billion global market, while China controls more than a third of its share. India’s exports, which were at the level of its closest rival Bangladesh about a decade ago, have lagged behind in recent years, especially in garments. This is partly due to high labor costs and Indian garments being about 20% more expensive.

The company is seeking land to add a new factory around its main manufacturing hub in Hindupur, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of its Bengaluru tech hub. The continued success of the textile and apparel (T&A) industry, the country’s largest employer after agriculture, is critical for Modi to keep unemployment down. India’s unemployment rate is over 7% and is estimated to have been higher than the world average for five of the last six years.

His T&A firm in India says it is attracting new customers, increasing sales to old customers and boosting production capacity as overseas buyers seek to diversify his supply chain. Outside of China, only India has a large supply chain for everything from cotton to clothing. However, some industry leaders believe that unless India signs free trade agreements with Western countries that New Delhi is working on, it will outperform Bangladesh, where many buyers enjoy preferential export terms as a least developed country.

Indian companies such as Texport, Wellspan India and Raymond, including Western retailers such as Amazon, Target, Costco, Walmart, Tesco and Macy’s, have seen sales growth in recent quarters. Modi hopes to create around 1.5 million jobs in the industry over the next five years. India’s Deputy Textile Minister Darshana Jardosh on Wednesday set up seven mega all-in-one textile parks for around $600 million to further boost employment, including ordering by foreign buyers to facilitate oversight of supply chains. citing recent announcements to help the industry. The government is also proposing $1.4 billion in production-related stimulus.

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