Textile Industry

textile industry in India map

The textile industry contributes 14% to industrial production in India. In terms of employment generation, this industry is the second largest after agriculture. 35 million persons are directly employed in the textiles industry in India. The contribution of textiles industry to GDP is 4%. This is the only industry in the country which is self-reliant and complete in the value chain.

Cotton Textiles: Cotton textiles were traditionally produced with hand spinning and handloom weaving techniques. Power-looms came into use after the 18th century. During the colonial period, the competition of mill-made cloth from England destroyed the Indian textiles industry.

At present, there are 1600 cotton and synthetic textile mills in India. Almost 80% of them are in the private sector. The rest are in the public sector and cooperative sector. Additionally, there are several thousand small factories with four to ten looms.

Location of Cotton Textile Industry: This industry was earlier concentrated in the cotton belt of Maharashtra and Gujarat. Availability of raw materials, port facilities, transport, labour, moist climate, etc. were in favour of these locations. The industry provides a source of livelihood to farmers, cotton boll pluckers and workers engaged in ginning, spinning, weaving, dyeing, designing, packaging, tailoring and sewing. This industry supports many other industries; like chemical and dyes, mill stores, packaging materials and engineering works.

Spinning still continues to be centralized in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. However, weaving is highly decentralized and there are many weaving centres in the country.

Production of fabric in India by various sectors
SectorShare of productionLoomage
Mills6%1.33 lakh
Powerloom54.17%14 lakh

India exports cotton yarn to Japan. Cotton goods are also exported to USA, UK, Russia, France, East European countries, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka and African countries.

At around 34 million, India has the second largest installed capacity of spindles in the world; after China. India accounts for one fourth of the world trade in cotton yarn. However, India’s share in garment trade in the world is only 4%. Our spinning mills are globally competitive and can use all the fibres we produce. But the weaving, knitting and processing units cannot use much of the high quality yarn produced in the country.

Problems in cotton textile industry: Erratic power supply and obsolete machinery are the major problems. Low output of labour and stiff competition; with the synthetic fibre are the other problems.

Jute Textiles

India is the largest producer of raw jute and jute goods in the world. It is the second largest exporter of jute; after Bangladesh. Most of the 70 jute mills in India are located in West Bengal; mainly along the bank of Hooghly. The jute industry is in a narrow belt which is 98 km long and 3 km wide.

Location advantages of Hooghly basin: Proximity of the jute producing areas, inexpensive water transport, good rail and road network, abundant water for processing raw jute and cheap labour from West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh.

The jute industry directly supports 2.61 lakh workers. It also supports 40 lakh small and marginal farmers who are engaged in cultivation of jute and mesta.

Jute industry is facing challenge from synthetic fibre and also from other competitors like Bangladesh, Brazil, Philippines, Egypt and Thailand. But the internal demand has been rising because of government policy of mandatory use of jute packaging. The National Jute Policy was formulated in 2005 with an objective to increase productivity, improve quality and ensure good prices for the jute farmers. Due to growing global concern for environment friendly and biodegradable material; the future of jute looks bright. USA, Canada, Russia, UAE, UK and Australia are the main markets.

Sugar Industry

India is the second largest producer of sugar in the world. It is the largest producer of gur and khandsari. There are over 460 sugar mills in the country. They are spread over Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh. Sixty percent mills are in UP and Bihar. This industry is seasonal and hence is more suited to the cooperative sector.

In recent years, there has been a growing tendency to shift and concentrate in the southern and western states; especially in Maharashtra. The cane produced in this region has higher sucrose content. The cooler climate of this region ensures a longer crushing season.

Challenges for Sugar industry: Seasonal nature of industry, old and inefficient methods of production, transport delay and the need to maximize the use of baggase are the major challenges for this industry.

Mineral Based Industries

Iron and Steel Industry

Iron and Steel India map

Iron is required for making machineries for all other industries hence it is the basic industry. Due to this, production and consumption of steel is often regarded as the index of a country’s development.

India is 9th among the world crude steel producers and produces 32.8 million tons of steel. India is the largest producer of sponge iron. But per capita consumption of steel is only 32 kg per annum.

Total finished steel production in India
YearProduction (million tonnes)
1950 - 511.04
1960 - 612.39
1970 - 714.64
1980 - 816.82
1990 - 9113.53
1997 - 9823.40
2004 - 0532.60

At present, there are 10 primary integrated steel plants in India. Additionally, there are many mini steel plants in the country. SAIL (Steel Authority of India Limited) is the major public sector company in this sector, while TISCO (Tata Iron and Steel Company) is the major private sector company in this industry.

Most of the iron and steel industries are in the Chhotanagpur plateau region. This region has plenty of low cost iron ore, high grade raw materials, cheap labour and good connectivity through railways and roadways.

Reasons for underperformance of Iron and steel Industry in India:

  1. High cost and limited availability of coking coal
  2. Low productivity of labour
  3. Erratic energy supply
  4. Poor infrastructure

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