The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the launch of the National Mission for Technical Textiles with a total allocation of ₹1,480 crore for a four-year period in line with the announcement made in Budget 2020-21 earlier this month.

“The idea behind the National Mission for Technical Textiles is to integrate technology and manufacturing,” Textiles Minister Smriti Irani said at a press meet following the CCEA meeting on Wednesday.

She added that the goal was to be self-dependent in technical textiles and to nullify the trade deficit in the area which was already declining.

Technical textiles have various applications ranging from agriculture, roads, railway tracks, sportswear, health on one end to bullet proof jacket, fire proof jackets, high altitude combat gear and space applications on the other end of the spectrum.

Focus on research and innovation

The first component of the mission will focus on research, innovation and development and have an outlay of ₹1,000 crore. The focus will be on carbon fibre, aramid fibre, nylon fibre, and composites, according to an official release.

Application-based research will be conducted in CSIR, IIT, Research Design & Standards Organisation of Indian Railways, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Defence Research & Development Organisation, National Aeronautical Laboratory, Indian Road Research Institute and other such reputed laboratories, Irani said.

Indian technical textiles segment is estimated at $16 billion that is approximately 6 per cent of the $250-billion global technical textiles market. The penetration level of technical textiles is low in India varying between 5 per cent and 10 per cent against the level of 30-70 per cent in developed countries. “The Mission will aim at increasing the size of the domestic market to $40 billion which would require an average growth of at least 10 per cent per annum,” the Minister said.

The Mission will also promote technical education at higher engineering and technology levels related to technical textiles and its application areas covering engineering, medical, agriculture, aquaculture and dairy segments. Skill development will be promoted and adequate pool of highly skilled manpower resources will be created for meeting the need of relatively sophisticated technical textiles manufacturing units, Irani said.