Present Scenario of the Indian Weaving Industry

Last Updated on 01/01/2021

Present Scenario of the Indian Weaving Industry

R.S. Balakumar
Associate Professor
Dept of Fashion Design & Arts
Hindustan University, Chennai, India


Indian Weaving Industry has traditionally been one of the most surviving sectors of mass employment. As a matter of fact, after agriculture, the Weaving Industry is largest provider of work force. There is a huge quantity of availability of the raw materials; the continuous supply of economically affordable labour force is the contributing factors behind the success of the present weaving industry of India.

However, the liberalization of the international trade along with change in the reforms of indigenous economy, have affected negatively to Indian Weaving Industry.

Hand loom weavers who make mostly traditional fabric such as saris, dhotis, bed sheets and shawls have been hit the tedious and render to the weaving production. Out of the 38 million people employed in the weaving industry 12.4 million, or close to 33%, are concentrated in this declining part of the sector. The majority of them are traditional caste and very poor as well as economically weaker section, working along with their family members joined together in joint family units. Most of the women of all age groups are dedicately doing this weaving as their profession for their lively wood.

Indian Weaving Industry
Fig: Indian Weaving Industry

The Banaras silk saris made in Varanasi are very much famous for centuries for their luxurious and traditional look. These are still a must have for all Indian weddings. More than 600,000 weavers live in Varanasi and nearby districts, weaving mainly for the indigenous market. During 1990’s, the silk hand-loom weavers who make the Banaras saris have seen their fortunes vanish. Trade liberalization is been the driving force of economic globalization, pursued relentlessly by rich nations and international financial institutions at the expense of the poor of the world.

Brocade weaving, especially with gold and silver, has been an age-old tradition in India. There are two broad classes of brocades. Brocades of pure silk or silk and cotton blends and zari brocades with gold and silver threads. The most important material in brocade weaving is silk. It facilitates lovely weaves, is durable, strong, fine and smooth. There are several varieties of raw silk of which the chief ones used for brocades are Tanduri, Banaka and Mukta. Tanduri is imported from Malda and other places in Bengal. Banaka is thinner and finer variety and is mostly used to weave soft fabrics such as turbans and handkerchiefs. Mukta is a coarse and durable silk used for kimkhabs, a fine silk would not with stand heavy gold patterns.

Size of the weaving industry
Over 38,00,000 Indian Weaving industries have been built throughout the Indian country and more than 15, 00,000 domestic weaving industries have been set up in the states of North and Eastern parts of India. In the southern states a huge share of weaving industries, like in Andhra Pradesh houses some 3, 20,000 weaving industries

Top leading weaving companies in India

  1. Jai India Weaving Mills Private Limited: Dealing with manufacturing and exporting of weaving products.
  2. Vardhaman Spinning: Manufacturer and exporter of weaving products.
  3. Arvind Mills: Manufactures and trades weaving products.
  4. Advance Syntex Pvt. Ltd.: Manufacturer of weaving products.

Employment opportunities
It has been found out that the weaving industry of India provides employment to approximately 12.5 million people, thereby, making weaving industry the largest provider of rural work force. It is preceded by the agriculture sector.

Recent developments

  • It is estimated that the Indian Weaving Industry would grow by 25% to over 35 million tons by the year 2010
  • The Indian weaving industry will maintain its growth throughout 2010.
  • Apparel being the mostly used woven products is expected to expand its market in the international arena as well.
  • According to the silk weaving industry a combination of the abolition of quantitative restrictions, declining tariffs on textile imports, and events.
  • Cheap imports of silk, especially from China, which is posing tough competition to the Indian silk-weaving industry at present.

Indian weaving scenario in present time
Though weaving is one of the important sectors for Indian textile industry, it has not been given due importance like spinning sector. Moreover, structure of the industry plays a vital role in making it competitive. Nature of this sector is mainly unorganized. The weaving sector consists of fragmented, small and often, un-registered units that invest low amount in technology and practices especially in the power loom, processing, hand loom and knits.

India has world’s largest installed base for looms. There are approximately 5mn looms in the country. India has 1.8mn shuttle looms which is 45 per cent of world capacity, and 3.90mn hand-looms which is 85 per cent of world capacity.

The manufacturing of the weaving products makes a remarkable contribution to the national GDP and even in the export’s revenue. As per studies, it has been found out that the weaving industry provides employment to approximately 12.5 million people, thereby, making this industry the largest provider of rural work force. It is preceded by the agriculture sector.

Over 38,00,000 weaving industries have been built throughout the country, and more than 15,00,000 domestic weaving industries have been set up in the North and Eastern parts of the country.

The southern States also have their wide share of weaving industries, for example, Andhra Pradesh houses some 3,20,000 weaving industries.

Most of these industries are situated in Chirala, Pedana, Polavaram, Mangalagiri, Pochamapali, Ponduru, Dharamvaram, Narayanpet, Puttapaka, Madhavaram, Emmiganur and Gadwal.

Along with these centers, the coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh also have numerous centers for weaving.

Estimates over the years have found out that the weaving industry are supporting some 32 other sectors that include marketing, financial, transportation, hotels and even maintenance services.

The power loom sector produces more than 60 per cent of cloth and the Indian Textile Ministry’s estimation says that more than 60 per cent of the country’s cloth exports originated from that sector. With its employment of 4.86mn workers, the power loom sector comprised approximately 60 per cent of total textile industry employment.

As per the Textile Ministry of India up till March 31, 2006, the sector which produces various cloth products, including greige (unbleached)and processed fabrics consisted of 430,000 units with 1.94mn power looms. The Ministry projected the number of power looms to rise to 1.95mn in 2006-07. But modernization in looms is less and Indian industry still lags significantly behind the US, China, Europe, Taiwan, etc.)

Most of the looms we have currently in the country are shuttle less. There are less than 15,000 modern looms, whereas traditional looms are in large numbers. Value addition and the manufacturing of fabrics according to customer’s compliance’s, is not possible due to obsolete technology of looms.

Shuttle fewer weaving looms are up to three times more efficient than shuttle looms, but the penetration of modern shuttle less loom is very less. In 2001, there were some 27,000 shuttles less cotton looms in Indonesia, 21,000 in Thailand and 10,000 in India. In world share of shuttle less looms, India ranked 9th.

Future prospects
It is estimated that the weaving industry in India will grow by 28 per cent to over 37 million tons in due course. The industry will maintain its growth throughout 2015. Apparel being the mostly used woven products is expected to expand its market in the international arena as well.

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  4. Prospects of Silk Industry in India
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