Surat, an emerging city in the state of Gujarat, is known as the textile city of Gujarat. And, the epithet is perfectly suited to the city. The textile industry is one of the oldest and the most widespread industries in Surat. A major part of the city's population is associated with the textile industry
Overview of the Surat textile industry
The textile industry in Surat is mainly engaged in the activities of yarn production, weaving, processing as well as embroidery.
Surat is well known for its synthetic products market. It is mainly engaged in the production and trading of synthetic textile products.
Nearly 30 million metres of raw fabric and 25 million metres of processed fabric are produced in Surat daily. The city has several textile markets that exist since times immemorial. Zampa Bazaar, Bombay Market, JJ Textile Market and Jash Market are among them. Katat Gam, Magdalla and Udhana are the areas of Surat where manufacturing is mainly concentrated. In the course of time, people from various other places like Rajasthan and Kolkata settled in Surat in order to carry out their textile business.
Brands from Surat
The famous brands of Garden and Vimal textiles evolved from Surat. A few other brands like Parag and Prafful from Surat did become famous for a short time, but failed to create a lasting impression in the market.
The main market for Surat's textile products are India and other Asian countries. Around 90% of polyester used in India comes from Surat. However, international demand for its products is not very significant. The Middle East is the major export market for Surat's textile products. According to experts, more improvisation in the quality is required to cater to the demands of the international market.
The Surat textile industry has grown considerably over time. As per recent figures, textile production in Surat has grown by 10% in the last 5 years, while the market for embroidery has grown from an almost negligible amount to around Rs. 30000 million over the same period.
One of the main reasons behind the growth of Surat's textile industry is the city's ability to adapt to changes and the latest trends. The city is quick to respond to any changes in the preferences of people. The industrialists here have strong entrepreneurial skills.
The Surat textile industry has gone through quite a few setbacks as well.Most of the traders have a fixed group of clients, with whom they trade. Most of the business is done on a credit basis. According to the Federation of Surat Textile Traders Association, the industry suffered a loss of Rs. 200 crores in the year 2004-05 on account of frauds by customers. The industry suffered a huge loss in the floods of 2006 as well. Around 40000 textile shops were damaged in Surat in these floods and the total loss was reported to be at Rs.10 crore per day. However, the city has always been quick to rise from these setbacks.
The rising cost of power and labour, which consequently raises the cost of production is another issue faced by the Surat textile industry. Most of the labour employed in this industry is unskilled and comes from various areas such as Bihar, Orissa, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. The industry faces shortage of skilled labour. Moreover, severe labour crunch is felt by the industry during April-June when the laborers travel to their hometowns.
The government has set up institutes to train the laborers, but these institutes are not very well equipped. The lack of an international airport in Surat contributes to the low demand for its products in the international market.
It is also necessary to update the technology used in the industry as well as the infrastructure.
In spite of certain drawbacks, the city occupies a major position in the production of manmade fabrics. Around 65% of India's manmade fabric production is done in Surat. The city expects a growth rate of 15-20% in manmade fabric demand in the near future. Hence, the future of the Surat textile industry does look bright.