Cotton textile industry in India is highly decentralized. Analyze the factors for this decentralization? (15 Marks)

Mentors Comments:
  • The question expects us to explain what do we mean by decentralised cotton textile industry in India. Next, we need to explain the reasons why the cotton textile industry in India is decentralised in India
  • In the Introduction, mention that at present, the cotton textile industry is the largest organised modem industry of India. There has been a phenomenal growth in this industry during the last four decades. About 16 per cent of the industrial capital and over 20 per cent of the industrial labour of the country is engaged in this industry.
  • In the main body, explain that initially, the textile industry developed in certain major centres such as Mumbai, Surat etc which had all the factors that are responsible for the location of textile industries. Mention factors such as easy transportation, cheap labour, closer to market etc.
  • Next, discuss the reasons for decentralization of cotton textile industry such as – Dispersal of the industry from the old nuclei started after 1921 with railway lines penetrating into the peninsular region. New centres like Coimbatore, Madurai, Bangalore, Nagpur, Indore, Solapur and Vadodara were favourably located in respect to raw material, market and labour than places of original locations.
  • This industry also reached some places with some additional advantages, such as nearness to coal (Nagpur), financial facilities (Kanpur) and wide market with port facilities (Kolkata); Dispersal of cotton textile industry was further boosted with the development of hydroelectricity. The growth of this industry in Coimbatore, Madurai and Tirunelveli is largely due to the availability of hydroelectricity from Pykara dam. The industry also tended to shift from areas of high labour cost to those with low labour cost. The labour cost factor played a crucial role in establishing this industry at Madurai, Tirunelveli, and Coimbatore etc.

Answer:

Cotton plays an important role in the Indian economy as the country’s textile industry is predominantly cotton based. India is one of the largest producers as well as exporters of cotton yarn. The textile industry is also expected to reach US$ 223 billion by the year 2021.

The states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Punjab are the major cotton producers in India. There has been a phenomenal growth in this industry during the last four decades. About 16 per cent of the industrial capital and over 20 per cent of the industrial labour of the country is engaged in this industry.

India has a glorious tradition of producing excellent quality cotton textiles. Before the British rule, Indian handspun and handwoven cloth already had a wide market. The Muslins of Dhaka, Chintzes of Masulipatnam, Calicos of Calicut and Gold-wrought cotton of Burhanpur, Surat and Vadodara were known worldwide for their quality and design. But the production of handwoven cotton textile was expensive and time-consuming. Hence, the traditional cotton textile industry could not face the competition from the new textile mills of the West, which produced cheap and good quality fabrics through mechanized industrial units.

A host of factors such as low labour costs, government subsidies, irrigation, proximity to ports led to the spread of the cotton textile industry.

Pre-1920’s:

  • Traditionally, the cotton industry in India was largely concentrated in cotton-growing areas of the peninsula, Like Gujarat (Surat), Maharashtra(Mumbai).
  • These areas had advantages of proximity to the market, capital facility, cheap labour, proximity to port facility and favourable humid climate.
  • But cotton is lightweight, non-perishable material, humidity can be created artificially and there is hardly any weight loss during production.
  • As a result, proximity to raw material becomes a non-critical factor in location.
  • Production can be carried out anywhere with cheap labour, energy and water supply is available for dyeing.

Post-1920’s:

  • Dispersal of industry from the old nuclei started after 1921 with railway lines penetrating into the peninsular region.
  • Gradually industry shifted towards small towns and cities. Example: centres like Coimbatore, Madurai, Bangalore, Nagpur, Indore, Solapur, Vadodara, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Indore, Amritsar.
  • These were favourably located in respect to raw material, market and labour than places of original locations.
  • This industry also reached some places with some additional advantages, such as nearness to coal (Nagpur), financial facilities (Kanpur) and wide market with port facilities (Kolkata).
  • Dispersal of the cotton textile industry was further boosted with the development of hydroelectricity. The growth of this industry in Coimbatore, Madurai and Tirunelveli is largely due to the availability of hydroelectricity from Pykara dam.

Post-Independence:

  • The industry also tended to shift from areas of high labour cost to those with low labour cost. The labour cost factor played a crucial role in establishing this industry at Madurai, Tirunelveli, and Coimbatore.
  • Government Incentives: Handloom industry considered highly labour-intensive, beneficial to the village economy and women empowerment. Therefore the government aids them with measures such as the Integrated Village Handloom Development scheme and National Silk Yarn Scheme.
  • Handloom sector employs more than 65 lakh people and contributes to 15 % of total textile productions. They are widely distributed throughout the country, states of Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Manipur account for nearly 50 per cent of the production capacity.

Image result for textile industries in india

A huge population is dependent on the growth of cotton as well as textile industry. The labour-intensiveness, low-capital and high export incentives, urbanization and demand changing fashion has led to setting up of many decentralised textile centers.                

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