Indian Technical Textile Industry


Development of Science & Technology has led to the growth of industry, employment generation and Socio-Economic development of any country across the globe since last few decades. This has facilitated R&D initiative, Product development and Innovation including infusion of new ideas etc. in manufacturing sector in the recent decades. Technical Textile is an area, emerged in the world of textiles as a new innovation nearly five decades ago. The diverse uses of technical textiles have opened up new vistas to industries to move to a high growth trajectory. There is a dire need to infuse innovative ideas and dedicated R&D initiatives to develop new generation textiles to attain new height. Indian textile industry has made a humble beginning in and around late 70’s to start manufacturing Geo textile and Industry textiles mainly in the area of Filter fabrics. India has been a pioneer of manufacturing Surgical cotton and bandages since the ancient times by using traditional knowledge acquired during the period, though it was never been recognized as Technical Textiles at that point. However with the passage of time, technical textiles have been widely categorized based on the end uses and the products (Bandage& surgical cotton) have been included as Medical Textiles. With the advent of new technology & innovative ideas, developmental works have been undertaken in various spheres and laid an emphasis on technical textiles due to diverse end uses. Popularity of technical textile has grown up widely and there is a huge surge in demand in last couple of years. The global technical textile market is estimated to be US$104bn in 2010, it has grown up to US$148.5bn in 2014 and expected to grow @ 4.5% from 2015-2020. The technical textile market size is projected to reach 42.20Mn tons by 2020. The market for the global technical textile industry has seen an upward surge since 2000. It is reported that share of Asia Pacific region is around 33.13% followed by North America and European region, Germany and India 29.13%, 24.02%, 50-60% and 12% respectively. Experts opine that technical textile market was estimated at US$ 14bn in 2010 and likely to reachUS$32bn by 2023. It is stated that domestic consumption of technical textile is only 3% of Global technical textile and it is still unchanged though there is a huge opportunity to enlarge the area of application. At present, consumption of technical textiles is mostly confined in the area of Packaging sector, health care and geo textile etc. It is stated that new areas have been identified that need a lot of R&D initiatives and innovation to make the products affordable.  However, there is a slow rise in consumption of technical textiles in the recent years. Currently various developmental works have been undertaken in the area of Infrastructure, Construction, healthcare and Protective & Safety etc. that may create a huge surge in demand. With the rapid development & change of life style and growing consciousness of health also enhances the consumption pattern. Industry captains need to be serious to assess the emerging demand and think of strategic plan to tap the potential and grow.

Status, Opportunities and Emerging Challenges to Indian Textile industry

Indian textile industry has been playing a pivotal role in Indian socio- economic structure since pre-independence era. It had been the one of the largest forex earning industry in the country till 2000 and the industry has been registering an exponential growth since mid 80’s. With the advent of WTO, the market economy has been opened up phase wise and industry has to comply with the global trade practices with the business partner/ trade block countries. This has brought a set back to the industries at the beginning, as domestic manufacturers were not enough capable to withstand the emerging challenges ushered in the new era.  India has been experiencing a stiff competition from neighbouring countries slowly with the abolition of quota regime. Besides, technology has made a big hurdle for industries to make an in-road in the global market, taking an edge on the small countries; those have already made a big dent in the market. India had been exporting textile & clothing items mainly based on the quota allotted to us. Besides this, export of various items has also been made outside quota countries in 90’s onwards. India’s export basket was full of traditional and low value added product. It has been reported on various occasions that India had been incapable of full utilization of quota in various categories. Unfortunately, we had never learnt any lesson from all sufferings instead we had been advocating for some incentive/subsidies to compete. Such measures never act as a rider as these never benefit any industry for long rather, it had invited a disaster to the industries. Indian textile industries had made serious attempts to recover from the crisis but it really din’t yield much encouraging results to inspire. Domestic industries were not very keen to come out of traditional manufacturing practices and also not truly serious to venture in high risk areas. Union Govt. had launched several plan schemes providing various assistance/incentives to encourage industries to step up their initiatives to venture in manufacturing high value added products. This had of course; facilitated the established manufacturers and new generation manufacturers to move to high risk areas, leaving behind the concept of manufacturing traditional items. But the progress is very slow and there is no visible impact as on date.

It is reported that India has poised to become an important player in the global textile economy both as consumer and producer. The synergistic efforts of all stakeholders including Govt. has resulted the Indian textile industry to grow at the rate of 8-9% in the last couple of years but again it got slew in recent times. Indian textile market size was estimated at around US$150bn in 2017, and it is expected that Indian textile industry is to grow to a size of US$ 223bn by 2023. Though the textile industry has the potential to reach US$500bn at the end of next decade but it may suffer a severe set back due to the unexpected pandemic. It is also reported that export of textile may experience a big surge but it was not growing very fast as expected. Textile & Apparel export was only US$35bn(approx.) in 17-18, US$36bn(approx.) in 18-19, and fell again to US$33.8bn in 19-20.  India has been experiencing good flow of FDI in textile sector in last couple of years but it may suffer a setback due to the unexpected pandemic that made a big halt in manufacturing & export. Indian textile industry has to gear up the initiatives in concerted manner to rejuvenate the industry infusing innovation and introduction of appropriate technology to manufacture technical textiles to sustain in the global market. Though India has been recognized as one of the key player in the global market but its share remained stagnant for the consecutive years. India has been setting target with an expectation to enhance trade with developed countries but not succeeded in achieving the desired results. Now it is high time to think of new ideas to shift the manufacturing base to high value added products, having huge market potential in the domestic market as well as overseas market. 

Growth of Technical textile Industry – The Way to move forward.

India has been witnessing huge innovation in various fields like Technology, Product, Trade etc. in the last one & half decade. Technical textile is one such innovation come in the market with a huge expectation of growth and diversification in manufacturing activity.  Technical textiles are special variety of products used primarily for their technical performance and functional properties rather than their aesthetic or decorative characteristics. Technical textile industry is a knowledge based research oriented industry and has been steadily gaining ground due to its functional characteristics and its suitability in diverse uses. The main users of technical textiles are the industries like Automobile, Healthcare, Medical, Sports, Railways, Protective/ Safety and Infrastructure & Construction etc. The global technical textile consumption is stood at 23Mn MT in 2010 at a compound growth rate of 3% since 2007. Technical textile industry is still in nascent stage in comparison to developed countries. India has made a humble beginning in the early 70’s but progress was very slow.  Though India is the second largest textile economy in the world after China, but it’s contribution in global technical textile industry is comparatively is very less. The global consumption of technical textile was in USA, Western Europe and Japan which accounts for 65% of the world consumption. It was reported in the recent study report that China has made a good progress by enhancing it’s consumption to 15% whereas; India accounts for only 8.6% of the total consumption. After reaching a high of US$ 129.8 billion in 2014, world exports of technical textiles registered two years of continuous decline to stand at US$ 117.6 billion in 2016. However, over a longer time frame, world exports of technical textiles recorded a CAGR of 0.7% between the period 2012 and 2016. China was the leading exporter of technical textile products in the world, with its exports valued at US$ 34.3 billion in 2016. The share of China in world exports increased from 27.5% in 2012 to 29.2% in 2016. Germany was the second largest exporter, although its share declined marginally from 8.0% to 7.9% during the same period. The US was the third biggest exporter with exports worth US$ 9 billion in 2016. Other major exporters of technical textiles products in 2016 included Italy (4.6%), Belgium (3.4%), France (3%), the UK (2.9%), Japan (2.8%), Vietnam (2.7%) and the Netherlands (2.6%). India was the thirteenth leading exporter of technical textile products in the world, with exports worth US$ 3.6 billion in 2016. The US was the leading importer of technical textile products, with its imports registering a CAGR of 3.4% during the period 2012 to 2016. Germany, the second Enhancing Exports of Technical Textiles Export-Import Bank of India 10 largest importer of technical textile products, had a share of 7.9% in total imports, with imports worth US$ 8.7 billion. China, France, Japan, the UK, Mexico, Belgium, Italy and S Korea were the other significant importers of technical textiles. It is reported that currently technical textile market is estimated at US$14bn and it is expected to reach US$32bn by 2023.

Global technical textile imports are dominated by the US with 17 per cent share; followed by China, Germany and UK with 10 per cent, 8 per cent and 4 per cent, share respectively. The rest of the world accounts for 40 per cent in technical textiles imports. Emerging regions such as the Asia-Pacific and Latin America are presumed to witness rapid growth in multiple segments of technical textiles. China is the largest exporter of technical textile with a share of 24 per cent, followed by the US, Germany, and Republic of Korea with a share of 10 per cent, 9 per cent and 4 per cent. respectively.

India, which had a share of around 1.4% in the total global imports. India’s technical textile market is mainly confined in the area of Packtech, Clothtech and Hometech etc. Though India has made serious initiatives in the area of Geo textile and Industry textile and later on Sport tech but consumption pattern was not much encouraging in the domestic market. Industry has also not progressed much in the last few decades as there was no indigenous technology available to produce flawless long length fabrics conforming to the specifications of specific end uses. Indian industry has been using imported technology mostly from Europe and USA. Besides this, non availability of raw material in the domestic market was another challenge to the industry. Materials were mostly imported to produce products. At present, availability of technology and raw materials is more convenient to undertake such activity. At present technical textiles industries are mostly confined in medium and small scale sector and industries are established in Maharashtra, Gujarat, MP and NCR etc. Manufacturing activity is mainly confined in the area of Industry textiles, Geo-textiles and medical textiles etc. Domestic industries couldn’t move much advance in absence of appropriate forecast on market demand though it could be an investment friendly industry and there could be a huge opportunity for FDI. Unfortunately, it got failed to articulate any big investor except in the selected fields where manufacturer’s presence were already in place. There is no doubt, A few manufacturers from the developed countries are showing their inclination to establish manufacturing centers in India after Govt. has made new policy formulation comprises of implementing various plan schemes and FDI.

Technical textile industry will grow at the rate of 20% during the 12th plan and projected market size is Rs.158540crores. Indian Meditech is expected to grow at the rate of 20% to US$1039Mn by 2016-17. Similarly, Mobiltech is expected to grow at the rate of 17% to US$1870Mn, Industry textile is expected to grow at the rate of 18% to US$ 2034Mn  and both Geo textile and Packaging textile will grow at the rate of 22% to US$201Mn and US$11782mn during the same period. Non woven textile has got a major share in technical textile across the globe. Surely there will be no exception in India. Non woven technical textile has specific uses in Oil and allied industry where minute particles of undesirables have to be removed in absolute terms and demand for such product in the industry is quite substantial. Opportunity to grow such industries is huge in the coming days. It is stated that the cost advantage is higher for India for various high end technical textiles product as compared to US and Europe which have the advantage of large economies of scale. But the various constraints like low scale of production, higher fixed cost per unit, shortage/non availability of specific quality materials in India have put in a disadvantageous position. However, Union Govt. Ministry of Textile has realized the compulsions and introduced various schemes/ widening the scope of existing schemes to extend support to grow the sector to cater the needs of domestic consumers. It is expected that the initiatives made by the Govt. will articulate the new generation entrepreneurs to make venture in this area thus boosting manufacturing activity at a new scale. This will surely strengthen the Indian textile industry as a whole and it will facilitate the industry to retain its importance in the Global market in the coming years.

Initiatives made by the Union Government to Promote the Sector.

Technical textile is a high technology and sunrise sector and the sector is steadily gaining ground in India. Technical textile products derive their demand from development and industrialization in a country. The market for technical textile can only be expected to grow in tandem with industrial growth in different parts of the world. Technical textile is in nascent stage in India though it has made a good beginning in late70’s but it could not augur well with the passage of time. The huge opportunity has been identified but the potential has been remained untapped. Union Govt. has made a good no. of initiatives to promote the sector. A good no. of Plan schemes have been launched during the 11th & 12th plan to encourage the manufacturers to make a venture in this segment. Various awareness programmes have been conducted by the concerned ministry and institutions to enhance outreach the users. Around eight Center of Excellency have been established at various corners of the country to provide an to improve life style and employment opportunities.

Technical textile unit can avail several benefits from central plan schemes like Technology Up-gradation Fund (TUF), Scheme for Integrated Textile Park(SITP), Coverage of major machinery for Technical textile manufacturing under concessional customs duty of 5%, Selected technical textile products are covered under Focus Product scheme, under which exports of such products carry duty credit scrip equivalent to 2% of FOB value of exports. Besides these, separate Scheme for Promoting usage of Agro-Textile and Geo- Technical textile in NER states etc. Additionally several states in the country offer various incentives and assistance to investors which includes, Electricity and Stamp duty exemption, concessions in land registration and Single Window clearing facilities to set up industries etc. Eight Centers of Excellency have been established to undertake research activities to develop technical textiles in various fields.


Technical textile though is in incipient stage in India but growth rate in the last decade indicates a good progress. Per capita consumption is still meager in comparison to developed and world average per capita consumption. There is a huge developmental activity undertaken by the Govt. during the 11th & 12th plan and it is expected that demand of various technical textile will grow substantially in the category of Geo textile, Health care textile products, Automobile and Packtech etc. Medical textiles will be an addition now due to the pandemic as it is experienced badly there is an acute shortage of such products in India.

It is reported that Technical textile has registered a compound annual rate of growth of 11% during the 11th plan and estimated com pound annual rate of growth of 20% during the 12th plan. It is reported that India’s Technical Textile consumption is Rs.1,16000crores in 2018 and expected to grow 20% per annum in next couple of years. At present, Technical Textiles contribute in domestic textile production is only 12% whereas Germany contributes in between 50-60%. Global Technical Textile market is projected to grow around US$170bn in 2020. Despite of achieving a substantial growth rate still per capita consumption of Technical textiles in India is only 1.7kg vis a vis 10-12 kg in developed countries. Globally technical textile contributes around 27% of textile industry, Western countries contribute around 50%, whereas India’s contribution is only 11%. This indicates the huge potential of technical textile industry’s growth opportunity in the next decades. Once the technical textile industry moves in a growth path market size will automatically expand. Export of textile will surge in terms of value and share in the global market. This will bring an opportunity to Indian textile industry to consolidate its position in the world market narrowing the gap with other leaders. Indian textile industry will be able to reshape its structure with an appropriate investment plan to build capacity and competence to develop innovative products to cater the needs of developed countries consumers. The captains of the industry have to make serious attempts to frame investment plan right from fiber to finished product to boost the manufacturing activity to reap the benefit in future as Technical textile is the ultimate option to rejuvenate the industry in a progression mode.


  • Technical Textiles FICCI Study Report, 2016
  • Working group Report on Technical Textiles 12th Plan, Govt. of India.
  • Annual Report of Ministry of textiles, 2018-19, 19-2020
  • EXIM Bank Research Working paper no 83, Dec.18
  • Textile Industry an overview, market size and export, IBEF report Sept, 2020.
  • Technical Textiles Growth of Engine of Indian textiles, KPMG Report. Aug 2019.
  • Technical textiles Market Analysis, Size & share, Aug, 2020.
  • Technical textiles market, Global Share in 2022 April’18.
  • Textile Commissioner baseline study report. Govt. of India
  • Allied Market Research Report on Technical Textiles Global forecast on Market, Size 2027, Aug. 2020
  • DGCIS Information, Govt. of India.

Author’s profile:-


  • FIE.
  • Retired Sr. official in Industry vertical, Govt. of India.
  • Industry & Management Expert.
  • BSc. Tech(Textile), M.Text(Engg.) System Management. Chartered Engineer,
  • Qualified ISO Lead Assessor. Recipient of prestigious Er. Sadanand Memorial Award
  • Life Member of Textile Association of India since’82 and Life member of Institution of Engineers India, since’90 and Member of BIS divisional council in Textile, Mechanical Engineering etc.
  • Served more than four decades in Industry, Research Institutes, Ministry of MSME & NITI AYOG in Govt. of India & consultancy. Attached with various professional and academic institutions at various capacities for more than 30years. Made a significant contribution in industry promotion, product innovation, Skill development and adoption & practicing modern management tool in MSMEs etc.

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  1. An insightful article on `Technical Textiles', which is still at nascent stage of development in India. The article has rightly underlined the need for reshaping the the concerned industry sector and verticals so as to provide a big push to `technical textiles' and realization of its real potential in the country.
    It would be a bit intriguing to get an idea on the status, availability and development of technology and processes concerning technical textiles.

    1. Yes, it is given through mail. Technology and Knowledge on manufacturing both are still sourced from developed countries. It's a known fact. Govt. of India has set up a good no. of Centres of Excellency in different institutes at various locations to extend support to industries.