by Seshadri Ramkumar
Technical skill development, research and development (R&D) are immediately needed for the textile sector. This conclusion is the result of many interactions over the summer in India with industrialists and academics spanning spinning, weaving, finishing and technical textiles. It became evident that the Indian textile sector is keen to diversify and is looking for ways forward to enhance its value.
The trip had its finale with a visit to Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences in Peenya, Bengaluru to interact with professors and students in the Faculty of Art and Design. The institute’s motto is ”Applied Brilliance Makes all the Difference.” Situated in the Peenya Industrial Estate that has about 900 garment units, it is a perfect fit that the university offers programs in industrial design and textile fashion design. Some of the leading names in the sector that are housed in the area include Gokaldas Exports, Gemini Finishing Mill, Sonal Exports, Shahi Exports and Texport Oversees.
The department of fashion design is focusing on institute-industry interaction with skill development activities such as a 45-day program on sewing for training workforce with less formal education, such as workers with just a 5th grade education, said Dr. Mamatha Hegde, head of the department of fashion design. With the support of central and state governments, training programs are planned for shop floor technicians in the garment industry, such as fabric quality evaluation, garment manufacturing basics and shop floor management, including occupational safety.
Recently a few garment units have closed due to lack of exports and labor issues Hegde says, which necessitates the need for new product development to enhance the textile sector.
Training the textile industry workforce at shop floor and research levels is the need of the hour. This aspect has been aptly handled by the current Modi Government by launching the “Skill India,” campaign to train industrial workforce in different fields. Industry will benefit if skills for marketing and project management are also imparted.
Seshadri Ramkumar, Ph.D., professor, Nonwovens & Advanced Materials Laboratory, Texas Tech University.