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29 June 2016 K2_CATEGORY IAS Blog

The article analyses our textile sector and suggests further measures to be taken to improve its health in the wake of China’s exit.

  • India’s textile industry has a long history of being a mainstay of the economy’s global trade linkages.
  • It was, after all, the English East India Company’s focus on trade of cotton and silk from India that made it one of the richest and most powerful corporations in the 18th century.
  • Today, India has the second largest manufacturing capacity in textiles globally and accounts for 13% of the world’s production of textile, fibre and yarn. However, it lags in terms of competitiveness and productivity.
  • China, which gained highly in textiles and apparel sector by getting access to the markets of developed countries in the post-Uruguay Round is beginning to exit due to rising domestic wages.
  • This will create a huge supply gap and the government has announced a special package of Rs. 6000 cr to make use of the opportunity.
  • The Agreement of Textiles and Clothing under the World Trade Organisation vouches for equal treatment to be meted out to all nations.
  • But Vietnam and Bangladesh are already securing better terms for themselves via free trade agreements with major markets. That underlines the urgency of the reforms the sector needs in India.
  • When the Multi Fibre Agreement imposed by developed countries on the developing world was phased out, it was expected that India would benefit from it too.
  • But the textile industry hasn’t been able to scale up accordingly due to following reasons:
    • Rigidities in the labour market.
    • Import restrictions on competing man-made fibres.
    • Export quotas on cotton and logistics costs.
  • To counter these problems and the problem of negative protectionism which hampers the smooth provisioning of imported inputs required for the industry the government has announced this package.
  • It is expected that this step will boost exports, increase investment and make the textile industry an integral part of the Make in India programme.
  • The textile industry is the second largest employer in the country after agriculture; any allocation to it has a multiplier effect on the economy at large.
  • The government’s decision to incentivize textile and apparel firms to absorb more labour by offering to pay a portion of the Employees’ Provident Fund for new employees will further enhance employment.
  • Female labour force participation rate is also expected to increase from a boost to the textile industry
  • Further suggestions to improve competitiveness:
    • The issues of productivity suffered by an industry largely restricted to the small scale and unorganized sectors needs to be addressed.
    • Emphasis should be laid on promotion and marketing of textiles and designs that are indigenous to India.
    • Fabindia’s success in branding and marketing Indian designs and textiles in the global apparel market, for instance, is worth studying here.
    • Geographical indications could prove to be an effective means of securing a niche market for Indian handloom in foreign markets. India’s muga silk used for Japanese kimonos is a case in point.
    • Given rising Internet penetration in the country, e-commerce could also be used to the advantage of the textile industry—to eliminate layers of middlemen and improve access. The example of the Taobao model in China where an entire village specializes in the production of a commodity and sells it at competitive prices online is relevant.

Question: Promoting traditional industries does not mean creating a protective shield against the emerging competition through tariffs. If an industry has to successfully progress and provide network effects, it must be allowed to grow to its full potential. Discuss the statement with reference to our textile sector and suggest measures to improve its health.

Suggested Approach:

  1. Reasons for bad health of textile sector, mainly protectionist policies.
  2. Need to open up the sector and support innovations.
  3. Suggest further measures.


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29 June 2016 K2_CATEGORY IAS Blog

National AYUSH Mission Background

  • AYUSH stands for Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy
  • Currently, the gaps in India’s healthcare sector are huge with a large proportion of the population virtually denied healthcare access
    • To address these gaps, the Government has been supporting AYUSH care and education, particularly in vulnerable and far flung areas.
  • The traditional medicine sector has a huge potential to solve the various health problems in the world. Promotion of these medicine systems is the need of the hour as they offer numerous benefits and multiplier effects in the form of employment etc.
  • While all conventional allopathic and surgical procedures focus on the treatment of a disease, AYUSH systems focus on an overall healthy lifestyle and a healthy mind and body as the key to health.
  • As the world celebrated the 2nd International Yoga Day on 21st June, let us examine the ways in which government has been promoting these traditional medicinal techniques.

Benefits of AYUSH

  • The AYUSH systems offer certain benefits which make them more sought after, compared even to conventional medicine
    • AYUSH healthcare is generally cheap and affordable
    • Lesser side effects
    • Have proven to effective even in chronic cases and terminal stages of diseases
    • Very effective towards lifestyle related disorders – especially yoga
    • Overall focus of health – body and mind; Hence it is focussed on prevention, being true to the fact that "prevention is better than cure"

About the Scheme

  • Vision of the scheme
    • To provide cost effective and equitable AYUSH health care throughout the country by improving access to the services.
    • To revitalize and strengthen the AYUSH systems making them as prominent medical streams in addressing the health care of the society.
    • To improve educational institutions capable of imparting quality AYUSH education
    • To promote the adoption of Quality standards of AYUSH drugs and making available the sustained supply of AYUSH raw-materials.
  • Objectives of the scheme
    • Providing Universal access to AYUSH : through upgrading AYUSH Hospitals and Dispensaries, co-location of AYUSH facilities at Primary Health Centres (PHCs), Community Health Centres (CHCs) and District Hospitals (DHs).
    • Strengthening institutional capacity at the state level : through upgrading AYUSH educational institutions, State Govt. ASU&H Pharmacies, Drug Testing Laboratories and ASU & H enforcement mechanism.
    • Sustained supply of raw material and maintenance of quality standards : Support cultivation of medicinal plants by adopting Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) so as to provide sustained supply of quality raw-materials and support certification mechanism for quality standards, Good Agricultural/Collection/Storage Practices.
    • Building a Supply chain: Support setting up of clusters through convergence of cultivation, warehousing, value addition and marketing and development of infrastructure for entrepreneurs
  • Basic mission components are
    • AYUSH Services
    • AYUSH Educational Institutions
    • Quality Control of ASU & H Drugs
    • Medicinal Plants

Other government interventions to promote AYUSH

  • The department of AYUSH was elevated to a separate ministry for AYUSH in 2014.
  • Recently, the government released guidelines to control quality and licensing of drugs to build credibility of AYUSH systems
  • Regulation and promotion of AYUSH Education under Central council of Indian medicine
  • Mainstreaming of AYUSH into National Rural Health Mission ; availability of AYUSH facilities at PHCs, CHCs and District Hospitals
  • National health policy 2015- emphasizes on the need to promote equity in health care
    • Attributes an important role to AYUSH; emphasizes on enhancing its outreach and acceptability
  • The Indian Government was successful in initiating and getting passed a proposal to observe June 21st as International Yoga Day

Way forward

  • The doubts regarding the efficacy and safety of AYUSH systems need to be addressed via scientific research, publishing and development of good practices in the area.
  • Development of Standard Treatment protocols to build public trust in these systems
  • Protection of traditional knowledge of Ayurveda from piracy and misappropriation
  • Emphasis on the preventive aspect of these systems especially Yoga is the key. PM Modi led the way when he emphasized that Yoga is akin to health insurance.