The Progressive Punjab Investors Summit on Tuesday saw a lively interaction between the top brass from the textile industry, representatives of the Punjab government and delegates from across India during a brainstorming session on "Textile sector in Punjab: From Fibre 2 Fashion."
The panel discussion was carried out by Trident Group managing director (MD) Rajinder Gupta; MD, CEO and vice-chairman, Nahar International, Kamal Oswal; MD, Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation, Ness Wadia; head, corporate strategy, Arvind Mills, Amar Choudhary; Vardhman Group MD DL Sharma; and CEO, Rainbow Denim, SS Arora.
The panellists spoke on various aspects of the textile industry, including its evolution, fabric manufacturing, converting 'commodity into brand' and technical textiles.
The participants agreed that there were ample opportunities of growth and investment in the textile sector in Punjab, especially in the processing of value-added products, fabric, design and technical textiles.
They concurred that Punjab was doing well on the spinning front and was second to Tamil Nadu in the country, with 95% of the hosiery manufactured in Ludhiana, but the production of value-added products was negligible and more thrust needed to be laid on it.
The session ended on the note of government incentives attracting more investment in the textile sector and tapping of production of value-added products, along with the demand for more financial incentives for small and medium units.
Director, Punjab industries and commerce, Vikas Partap Singh, said textiles was a star product of Punjab, with 14% of the total cotton yarn in India being produced in the state. He said with a strong cotton base, ample power supply and skilled labour, Punjab had great opportunities to grow.
The director gave details of the package of incentives offered by Punjab for setting up integrated textile units (ITUs) in the defined textile zones in Punjab.
Mittal allays fears on Chinese goods
Punjab industries and commerce minister Madan Mohan Mittal allayed fears of micro, small and medium entrepreneurs (MSME) regarding the adverse impact of Chinese imports on the growth of their industry and said they would have to innovate and compete in the global market to beat China in its own game.
Presiding over the session 'Towards Engineering Excellence' to invite investment proposals on light engineering and MSME, Mittal said Punjab had been the torchbearer in the growth of small and medium industry and Punjabi entrepreneurs, through their innovations and skills, had weathered all storms, including the days of militancy, to excel in the light engineering, hand tools and cycle industries.
He said Punjabi entrepreneurial skills had created a niche for themselves in the global market, browbeating every challenge with their innovative cost-cutting exercises without compromising on the product quality.
Participating in the panel discussion, Majestic Auto chairman Mahesh Munjal recalled the growth of Hero Industries in Punjab and said the state was a 'heaven' for the small-scale industry in terms of industrial atmosphere, cheap availability of labour, besides the total support of the state government in industrial growth.
Manipal Hospitals chairman Swaminathan D called upon entrepreneurs to "think big and out of box to remain in the forefront." KDDL Ltd MD Yashovadhan Saboo stressed the need for quality control.
Skill development: state signs MoUs with Tata, Trident
Punjab unveiled a plan for the skill improvement of one lakh youths in the next three years to meet the human resource requirement of the upcoming industry, signing two major MoUs (memoranda of understanding) with the Tata group and Trident for this purpose.
On the second day of Progressive Punjab Investors Summit, the session on 'Skilling for Inclusive Growth' focused on the critical areas of human resource development and skill development to meet the increasing requirements of the industry of the new economy.
Presiding over the session, principal secretary, technical education, AR Talwar said no industrial growth was possible without 'industry-ready talent', adding that Punjab's technical education department was focusing on growth with equity, continuous 'up-skilling', key industry partnerships to ensure job creation and ensure abundant talent for the industry.
Focusing on skill development, Talwar said multi-skill development centres were training 15,000 trainees each in every centre annually and now Tata had signed an MoU to set up the Skill Training Academy at Ropar. Also, private training providers were training 10,000 youths annually with 70% assured placements.
He called upon entrepreneurs to set up engineering colleges, polytechnics, research and development (R&D) institutions in the upcoming Education City in New Chandigarh, for which 1,500 acres have already been acquired.
Participating in the session, director general, National Skill Development Agency, Jai Prakash Rai; CEO, National Skill Development Corporation, Atul Bhatnagar; CEO, IL&FS Skill Development, Arun Kumar Pillai; chairman, Manipal Global Education TV, Mohandas Pai; and professor, Graduate School University of Maryland, Subash Bijlani; explored various areas in which the private sector could tie up with the government for skill development purposes.