Prime Minister's Office

English rendering of PM’s address at Bharat Tex 2024, New Delhi

Posted On: 26 FEB 2024 4:01PM by PIB Delhi

My cabinet colleagues Piyush Goyal ji and Darshana Jardosh ji, Ambassadors from various countries, senior diplomats, officers from central and state governments, all associates from the fashion and textile world, young entrepreneurs, students, our weavers and artisans, and ladies and gentlemen! Congratulations to all of you for participating in the Bharat Tex in Bharat Mandapam! Today's event is very special in itself. It is special because it is happening simultaneously at two of Bharat’s largest exhibition centres -- Bharat Mandapam and Yashobhoomi. Today, more than 3,000 exhibitors... close to 3,000 buyers from 100 countries... over 40,000 trade visitors... are participating in this event. This event is providing a platform to all stakeholders of the textile ecosystem and the entire value chain to come together.


Today's event is not just a textile expo. Many things are connected with this event. The thread of Bharat Tex is connecting Bharat’s glorious history with today's talent. The thread of Bharat Tex is blending technology with tradition. The thread of Bharat Tex is about bringing together style, sustainability, scale, and skill. Just as a loom weaves together multiple threads, this event is also bringing together the threads of Bharat and the entire world. And as I see it, this place has become a venue not only for the diversity of Bharat’s thoughts but also for the cultural unity that binds them into a single thread. Traditions such as Kashmir's Kani shawls, Uttar Pradesh's Chikankari, Zardozi, Banarasi silk, Gujarat's Patola and Kutch's embroidery, Tamil Nadu's Kanjivaram, Odisha's Sambalpuri, and Maharashtra's Paithani are truly unique in themselves. I have just witnessed an exhibition showcasing the entire textile journey of Bharat. This exhibition shows how glorious the history of Bharat’s textile sector and its capability has been.


Today, stakeholders from various segments of the textile value chain are present. You understand Bharat’s textiles sector, and you are familiar with our aspirations and challenges as well. Here we have a large number of our weaver and artisan companions, who are connected with this value chain at the grassroots level. Many of our companions have experience spanning several generations. You know that Bharat has resolved to become a developed nation in the next 25 years. The four main pillars of ‘Viksit Bharat’ (Developed Bharat) are the poor, youth, farmers, and women. And Bharat’s textile sector is connected to all these four pillars, i.e., the poor, youth, farmers, and women. Therefore, the importance of events like Bharat Tex increases significantly.


We are working extensively to enhance the contribution of the textile sector to the building of a ‘Viksit Bharat’. We are focusing on Tradition, Technology, Talent, and Training. We are emphasizing how our traditional practices can be updated according to the demands of today's fashion, and how designs can be rejuvenated. We are connecting all elements of the textile value chain with each other using the Five F formula. And I think perhaps there will be 50 people reminding you repeatedly about the Five F's as long as this program continues. Therefore, you will also become familiar with it. And when you go to the exhibition, you will also encounter the Five F's repeatedly. This journey of Five F's -- Farm, Fibre, Fabric, Fashion, and Foreign -- is unfolding before us in a way. Keeping this principle of Five F's in mind, we are encouraging farmers, weavers, MSMEs, exporters, everyone. We have taken several significant steps to promote MSMEs. We have also revised the definition of MSMEs in terms of investment and turnover. This will enable industries to benefit from government schemes even after scaling up in size. We have reduced the distance between artisans and the market. Facilities like Direct Sales, Exhibitions, and Online Platforms have been increased in the country.


In the near future, seven PM MITRA (Pradhan Mantri Mega Integrated Textile Region and Apparel) Parks are being established in various states of the country. You can imagine how significant an opportunity this plan will bring for companions like you. The idea is to prepare the entire ecosystem connected with the value chain in one place, where a modern, integrated, and world-class infrastructure is made available to you with plug-and-play facilities. This will not only increase the scale of operations but also reduce logistics costs.


You know that the Textile and Apparel Sector provides employment to a large number of people in the country. It generates employment from farms to MSMEs and exports. A significant portion of the rural economy and women are also involved in this entire sector. Out of every 10 companions making garments, 7 are women, and it's even more in handloom. Besides textiles, Khadi has also empowered the women of our Bharat. I can say that whatever efforts we have made in the past 10 years, it has made Khadi a means of both development and employment. That is, Khadi is creating millions of jobs in villages. In the last 10 years, the government has made schemes for the welfare of the poor... In the last 10 years, the infrastructure development that has happened in the country has benefited our textile sector significantly.


Today, Bharat has become one of the major producers of cotton, jute, and silk in the world. Millions of farmers are involved in this work. The government is supporting millions of cotton farmers today, purchasing millions of quintals of cotton from them. The Kasturi cotton launched by the government is going to be a big step towards creating Bharat’s own identity. Today, we are also working for the jute farmers and jute workers. We are continuously taking new initiatives for the silk sector as well. Efforts are underway on how to become self-reliant in the production of Grade 4A silk. Along with tradition, we are also promoting sectors in which Bharat still has much to achieve. For example, we are rapidly advancing in the field of Technical Textiles. You know how much potential the Technical Textiles segment has. Therefore, we have launched the National Technical Textiles Mission to increase our capacity. We want machinery and equipment to be developed in Bharat. Necessary guidelines have also been issued in this regard. There is a lot of scope for start-ups in Technical Textiles as well. Guidelines have been made for this too.


In today's world, where on one side there is technology and mechanization, there is also a demand for uniqueness and authenticity on the other side. And there is enough space to accommodate both. Whenever the topic of handmade design or textiles arises, many times something made by our artists appears somewhat different from others. Today, when people around the world want to look different from each other, the demand for such art also increases. Therefore, today along with scale, we are also emphasizing skills in this sector in Bharat. The network of the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) has reached 19 institutions across the country. Surrounding weavers and craftsmen are also being included in these institutions. Special programs are being organized for them from time to time so that they can be informed about new trends and new technologies. We are running the 'Samarth Yojana’ program for skill development and capacity building. Under this program, training has been provided to more than two and a half lakh people. Most of them are women. And more than 1.75 lakh companions have already been placed in the industry.


Over the last decade, we have added another new dimension. This dimension is "vocal for local." Today, there is a nationwide movement of "vocal for local" and "local to global" happening across the country. You all know well that small artisans, craftsmen, and cottage industries do not have a budget for national-level advertisements and marketing, nor can they afford it. That's why whether you advertise for them or not, Modi is doing it. Modi takes the guarantee of those whose guarantee no one else takes. The government is creating arrangements related to exhibitions across the country for these companions as well. 


The positive impact of the government's efforts in formulating stable and effective policies can clearly be seen on the growth of this sector. In 2014, the valuation of Bharat’s textile market was less than 7 lakh crore rupees. Today, it has crossed 12 lakh crore rupees. In the last 10 years, there has been a 25 per cent increase in yarn, fabric and apparel production in Bharat. The government also emphasizes quality control in this sector. Since 2014, around 380 BIS standards have been formulated, which are helping to improve the quality of the textile sector. It is due to such efforts by the government that foreign investment in this sector is continuously increasing. In the first 10 years before 2014, the amount of FDI that came, has now approximately doubled in our government's 10 years in this sector.


We have witnessed the strength of Bharat’s textile sector, and I have high expectations from it. We have experienced this during COVID what you can achieve. When the country and the world were struggling with a severe shortage of PPE kits and masks, Bharat’s textile sector stepped up. The government and the textile sector collaborated to streamline the entire supply chain. In record time, not only the country but also the world received an adequate supply of masks and kits. I believe that we can achieve our goal of making Bharat a global export hub for textiles as soon as possible. Whatever support you need, the government will provide you with full assistance. This deserves a round of applause. However, I still feel that your associations are scattered. How can they be brought together completely? Otherwise, what happens is that representatives from one sector come, tell their problems, take loans from the government, and run away. Then another one comes, which is completely contradictory, and demands something else. So, when such conflicting things come from your side, it either helps one or puts the other in losses. If you all come together and bring the issues, then things can be advanced in a comprehensive way. And I want you to encourage this direction.

Secondly, the changes that are happening in the world, we have been ahead of those changes for centuries. For example, the whole world is moving towards holistic health care, a holistic lifestyle, even in food, back to basics is the trend. People are leaning towards going back to basics in their lifestyle. And that's why they are also leaning towards going back to basics in clothing. They think fifty times before wearing clothes, stressing over what chemical-based colour is on it. They want to know if they can get clothes made from natural colours. They want to know if they can get cotton and thread made from it without any kind of colouring. That is, the world is a very different market, with different demands. What do we do? Bharat itself is such a big market, even if people keep altering the size of clothes slightly, the market is still big. The size of the clothes will be reduced by two or three inches. And that's why there is no desire to look outside. This psyche is such that, there is such a big market in Bharat, what do I need? Kindly come out of it after going through today's exhibition.

Have any of you studied what kind of fabric is needed in the African market, what kind of colour combinations are desired, what kind of sizes are preferred? We don't do that. Someone from there placed the order, we implemented it and that's it. I remember that the people in Africa prefer slightly wider clothes. The width we have here is based on our people's size. So, our ‘kurtas’ fit us but not them. So, a person from Surendranagar tried it out. He used to make fabric by hand, he was a weaver... He increased the size. He started making fabric with a wider width. And he provided the variety of colours they wanted. You will be surprised that his fabric became very popular in the African markets because there was no need for stitching in between. It only needed stitching in one place, and the clothes were ready. Now do a little research on this.

I was just observing an exhibition, and I found that the Gypsy community is scattered in the world, throughout Europe. If you observe the clothes worn by the Gypsy people in detail, they are very similar to the naturally dyed fabrics worn in the hills or in the border regions of Rajasthan and Gujarat. Even their colour choices are similar. Has anyone ever tried to capture a very large market by making clothes according to the requirements of Gypsy people? I am giving this advice without any royalties. We should think about it, the world needs these things. Here, I have seen that there is no representation from the chemicals industry in this entire exhibition. Now tell me can any fabric be introduced in the market without the help of those involved in chemicals? But there is no representation of the chemical industry in your supply chain. It would have been good if people from the chemical industry also participated in this exhibition. There should be a competition for providing natural colours. Who provides colours made from vegetables? And let's market it to the world. Our Khadi has the power to create a niche in the world. But we have restricted Khadi to the freedom movement or the clothes worn by leaders during elections. I remember I held a very courageous event in 2003. I'm calling it a courageous event because among the people I lived with and the platform I did it on, it will be called courageous.

I organized a fashion show in Porbandar on October 2nd in 2003. Even today, if you organize a fashion show somewhere in our country, four to six people come with flags to protest. What would have happened in 2003, you can imagine. And I explained it to the NID (National Institute of Design) boys from Gujarat. I said that I want something different with Khadi which is associated with political leaders on October 2nd. I want to bring change in the clothes worn by the common people. With a little effort, I called all the Gandhian people who worked with Gandhi ji and Vinoba ji. I invited them to the event. The song "Vaishnav Jan To Tene Kahiye" was played during the fashion show. And all the young children came wearing modern Khadi garments. Bhavji, a companion of Vinoba ji, who is no longer with us, was sitting with me. He said we never thought about Khadi like this. This is the true way. And you see what the result of new experiments is and where Khadi has reached today? It hasn't become global yet. However, it is picking up pace in our country. There are many things like this, friends, on which we should ponder. Secondly, a country like Bharat, which has a very powerful footprint in the history of textiles worldwide. We used to discuss Dhaka muslin. A whole cloth used to pass through a ring, that's how it was explained here. Now, will we keep telling stories? Can’t we research machine manufacturing related to textile technology? Our IIT students, our engineering students, even very experienced people, carry out many things.

You have the example of the diamond industry before you. Every machine required by the people in the diamond sector has been developed here. And the work of the cutting and polishing in the diamond industry is being done with machines made in Bharat. Can’t we do the same thing in the textile sector on a mission mode? Your association should hold a competition. Someone who comes up with a new machine, which uses less electricity and produces more, and makes a variety of things, should be given a handsome award. Can’t you do this?

Think completely anew, my friends. Today, let's consider conducting a comprehensive survey, study, and report on the types of textile needed for our market in African countries. What types of textiles are required in European countries? What kinds of fabrics are required by those who are health-conscious? Why don't we create those fabrics? Have we ever created a brand in the world, specifically for people associated with the medical profession, hospitals, operating theatres, etc., where clothes need to be worn once and then discarded, and the market for which is quite extensive? Have we ever created a brand that assures the world that clothes made in Bharat guarantee no discomfort to the patient no matter how major the operation is? Can we create such a brand? Think globally, my friends. This is such a vast sector for Bharat, and the employment of millions of people in Bharat is associated with it. Please don't follow the fashion emanating from the world; let's lead the world in fashion as well. We are very experienced people in the world of fashion; we are not new to fashion. You should visit the Sun Temple in Konark. The statues of the Sun Temple sculpted hundreds of years ago are wearing clothes that look very modern even in today's modern age, clothes that were carved on stones centuries ago.

Today, it seems very fashionable when you see our sisters roaming around carrying purses. You will find that in the statues of Konark carved centuries ago from stones. Why are there different types of turbans in different regions? There was a time in our country when a woman did not like if someone noticed her even a centimetre of her foot what she was wearing. However, there were also some people, who were involved in such an occupation that demanded that they wear clothes six to eight inches above the ground. So that fashion was prevalent for them in our country. Look at the clothes of those who worked in animal husbandry. It means that clothes suitable for professions have been around for centuries in Bharat. If someone is in the desert, what would their shoes be like? If they live in urban areas, what would their shoes be like? If someone works in the fields, what would their shoes be like? If someone works in the mountains, what would their shoes be like? You will find designs that are centuries old and which are still available in this country today. But we are not thinking as meticulously as we should on such a vast canvas.

And friends,

The government should not be involved in it; otherwise, we people are experts in ruining everything. I want the government out of people's lives as much as possible. Especially when the government interferes in the lives of middle-class families, I simply cannot accept it. Why does the government need to be there every day, at every step? Let's create a society where government intervention is minimal. Yes, the government should be there when the poor need support. If the poor boy needs education, the government should provide it. If they need healthcare, it should be provided. But as for the rest, I have been fighting against this practice of government interference for ten years, and I will continue to fight against it for the next five years for sure.

I'm not talking about elections, friends. What I mean to say is that the government is there as a catalyst agent. It will work to remove all the obstacles in fulfilling your dreams. We are here for that, we will do it. But I invite you, gather courage and come with a new vision. Keep the whole world in mind. Don’t get perturbed if goods are not being sold in Bharat. Don't get caught up in this trap that previously you sold goods for 100 crores and this time this figure has reached 200 crore rupees. Think about how much were the exports before, and how much is being exported now. Previously it was exported to a hundred countries, now how come it is going to 150 countries. Previously it used to go to 200 cities around the world, but now it is going to 500 cities. Previously it used to go to this particular market around the world, now think about how we have captured six new markets worldwide. And if you export, people in Bharat will not be left without clothes, don't worry. People here will get the clothes they need.

Thank you very much. 


DISCLAIMER: This is the approximate translation of the PM's speech. The original speech was delivered in Hindi.




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