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Tuesday, Apr 16, 2002

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Tirupur cluster development -- Textiles Committee may take over from Unido

G. Gurumurthy


THE Textiles Committee, the statutory body under the Union Textile Ministry, is likely to assume the role of a facilitator for the Tirupur cotton knitwear cluster development programme (CDP). It will take over from the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido), which is withdrawing from the CDP for the Tirupur knitwear sector at the end of a four-year sponsorship programme.

Unido, which adopted the Tirupur knitwear sector as part of its CDP scheme for small and medium enterprises in traditional industrial clusters in 1998, originally ran the CDP for Tirupur for a three-year period. The programme tenure was extended by a year, which expired in March this year.

According to knitwear industry sources, with the Centre keen on providing a thrust to cluster-based exporting industries, it was felt that a number of knitwear development initiatives launched during the Unido's participation should be continued so that the knitwear sector was geared to meeting the marketing challenges posed by scrapping of the quota regime for textiles and clothing by 2005.

Once regarded as a surveillance body, the role of the Textiles Committee has lately shifted to that of a facilitator, involved in quality certification and consultancy services for textile manufacturers.

The Ministry of Textiles, with a view to preparing the domestic textile sector in a changing global textile market, has sought to widen the role of affiliated bodies such as the Textiles Committee by entrusting it with additional responsibilities in areas such as human resources development and environmental aspects involving the textile sector.

It is in this background that the Textiles Committee has come forward to take up cluster development in Tirupur once the Unido withdraws from the cluster, the sources said.

During its four-year CDP for Tirupur, Unido provided the basic linkages between various local industrial associations and business development service providers such as the Small Industries Service Institute, Sidbi and national organisations such as the National Institute of Design.

Unido also helped the Tirupur cluster tie up with the Netherland-based Government body, CBI, which promotes the export capability of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries by focussing on areas such as designing and fashion forecasting.

Unido's industrial cluster intervention devices for Tirupur were centered around a quality awareness drive, garment design development capability and human resources development, besides strengthening the marketing ability of knitwear producers.

One major marketing drive initiated under the Unido's Tirupur knitwear cluster development, which has not progressed at the expected pace but may see action in the coming months, is the development of a common `Tirupur Brand' for generic knitwear items.

The `Vision 2004' initiatives proposed for the Tirupur cluster development by the Unido had sought to establish close links between various `cluster' players such as the Tirupur knitwear industrial associations and fashion design institutions such as TEA-NIFT, which has a long-term arrangement with the CBI.

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