Before starting a discussion on this subject let me convey our readers a very happy Diwali and a prosperous New Year. I decided to take up this subject because I feel that although it is customary for most Indians to wish a very Happy Diwali to all the connected people, the real spirit behind this whole exercise seems to have been lost somewhere, especially in the 21st century. It wouldn’t be entirely wrong to blame the current high tech communication era for the erosion of this spirit – the warmth, the feelings, liveliness and the genuineness of the desire – to be happy and also make others happy. Diwali, in India, is the occasion to celebrate festivities and at the same time take an account of the year gone by. Naturally, those who did well would be more happy and those who could not do well would be sad but the real spirit of Diwali is to forget the past year and look forward to make the coming year more rewarding, fulfilling and happy both in personal life and in business. Learn from mistakes, avoid conflict, have cooperation and improve overall efficiency. The virtual world has to be explored as and when necessary without undermining the real world if we want our happiness to be real. Otherwise, we will have to be content with virtual happiness or e-happiness.
Diwali time used to be an occasion to have personal contact with business associates. But now the business community gets anxious and worried because they are sure this is the time for fly-by-night operators to run away keeping their shutters closed forever. It has become quite a routine in textile business whether it is Surat, Ahmedabad or even Mumbai. Many shops never open after Diwali keeping the creditors in lurch and spoiling their Diwali celebrations. The personal contact with business associates is minimal thanks to IT, e-commerce (read e-gifts) and emails.
At the end, I would like to write just a few words on the current scenario and future possibilities in the textile and clothing sector. The industry is facing very tough challenges like increased input costs, such as raw materials and labor. But at the same time the industry is sincerely working toward developing and adopting better technology and machinery. This should help them in improving production efficiencies, product quality and also in achieving a much higher value addition to the finished product. The focus on improving efficiency and quality should be quite rewarding in the coming year. In principle, the global economy may have recovered but risks remain in the U.S. economy as well as some European countries. The stability of the Euro zone is shaky.
But despite these negatives, there are several fundamental aspects that look promising for a bright future of the textile industry: 1) a growing world population will automatically ensure increased global demand for textiles; 2) a growing global GDP will fuel demand in general and for textiles in particular; 3) per capita consumption of textiles in many developing countries will continue growing and 4) new applications for textiles (technical textiles) will create new demand. Therefore the overall outlook for the industry appears to be a positive one. And Diwali is a time to be optimistic, energetic, confident and above all – earnest.