Union Textile Minster Smriti Irani on Saturday inaugurated the three-day Surat International Textile Expo (SITEX), an exhibition of textile technology and machinery, at Surat International Exhibition and Convention Centre in Sarsana.
The exhibition is being conducted by the Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SGCCI) and Southern Gujarat Chamber Trade and Industries Development centre, the first such exhibition to be conducted since the Covid-19 outbreak..
Over 110 exhibitors from different parts of the country had booked their stalls in the pillar-less dome structure at convention hall, where the exhibition will be held.
Speaking to the industry people in the platinum hall at the convention centre, Irani said, “While visiting the exhibition hall, I reached a stall and felt proud after seeing the best example of Make in India concept done by one Chandrakant Patil. He shared details about the he had made the textile machine in just two months during initial days of the Covid-19 pandemic. The cost of imported machinery of same machine is Rs 50 lakh and he had made it at half the price.”
“Four years ago, I attended similar program in Surat where I met former president of SGCCI Hetal Patel. I still remember that Hetalbhai had assured me of converting the industry to technical textiles and added that it will take time. Technical textile is like sunrise industry. The tag of sunrise industry is given to those industries whose gestation and turn around period is long. The production of N-95 masks and PPE suits is one of the biggest example of that,” she added.
The minister further said that four year ago the textile industry people had told her that they will compete in the export market.
“I told them to get HSN (Harmonized System of Nomenclature) code. In last four years, the industry has 207 HSN codes, and are trading in technical textiles which increased by 60 per cent while negative trade balance in technical textile has reduced by 50 percent,” Irani added.
She added, “When the coronavirus knocked our doors in March, when all international borders were locked, all the industry leaders knew that we don’t have the capacity to make PPE suits of world standard. Through textile ministry, we have intimated all the industry players and even chambers across the country that if you decide, you can do it. Now it has been proven that you have done it. For manufacturing PPE suits, there were zero companies, and today ,1100 companies are doing business of Rs 7,500 crore business.”
Irani was accompanied by Minister of State for Woman and Child Development Debasree Chaudhari, His Excellency Agus Prihatin Saptono, Counsulate General of Republic of Indonesia, who was the guest of honour, and Mumbai Textile Commissioner Roop Rashi.
Chaudhari said that BJP will form a government in West Bengal, her home state, and will make it Gujarat.
“Mein jis kshetra se aa rahi hu, Paschim Bengal se, vahan hammesha virodhi log bolte hein ke hum paschim Bengal ko Gujarat banana nahi denge. Aur hum BJP log bolte hein hum Paschim Bengal mein BJP sarkar jarur banayenge…Bangaldesh aur Pakistan nahi banayenge, (I come from West Bengal. There, the Opposition says that they will not let West Bengal be like Gujarat. We, BJP, tell them that we will definitely form a BJP government and make it Gujarat, and will not make it Bangladesh or Paksitan),” she said.
During the event, SGCCI president Dinesh Navadia and vice-president Ashish Gujarati submitted demands made by the textile industry to Irani.