Cotton Textile Industry in India

Topics: Cotton, Textile industry, Textile Pages: 8 (2529 words) Published: June 21, 2012

The textile industry in India occupies a unique position in our economy contributing to nearly a third of the country's export earnings. This industry includes manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers and exporters of Cotton Textiles, Handloom, and Woolen Textiles etc. From the production of textile machinery and equipment, dyes and raw materials to the delivery of finished textiles, fabrics and garments, the textile industry in India has the vast potential for creation of employment opportunities. The number of textiles manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers and textiles exporters in India has increased rapidly after independence. Today, handloom and cotton textiles exports in India is counted among the most important sectors. The Government of India taking note of the new challenges and opportunities presented by changing global environment, particularly the initiation of the process of gradual phasing out of the QRs on imports and lowering of tariff rates for an integration of world textile and clothing markets by 2004, is set to redefine its goals and objectives vis-a-vis India's textiles History

The cotton plant has always thrived in the wild. By contrast, the historical origin of its commercial exploitation, particularly with regard to textile uses, is fuzzier. Relevant literary references point to two distinct geographical origins of cultivated cotton, namely, Asia and pre-Columbian America. The first cotton fabric would date back to approximately as early as 3,200 BC, as revealed by fragments of cloth found at the Mohenjo-Daro archaeological site on the banks of the River Indus. From India, cotton textiles probably passed to Mesopotamia, where the trade started around 600 years BC. 

There is evidence to suggest that trade in cotton started around Rome at the time of Alexander the Great, in the 4th century BC. The trade flourished after the discovery of the maritime route passing by the Cape of Good Hope and the establishment of trading posts in India. Portuguese trading prominence in this part of the world had been challenged by other European countries (notably, France and England) since 1698. The Arab conquests introduced the first cotton manufacturing facilities into Spain (Granada), Venice, and Milan. In England, the first cotton-spinning factory opened its doors in Manchester in 1641. This date marked the beginning of the cotton industry in Europe. The industrial revolution of eighteenth century Europe paved the way for the most far-reaching, influential transformation of cotton textile manufacturing.

Description and technical features

Cotton is a natural fiber of vegetable origin, like linen, jute or hemp. Mostly composed of cellulose (a carbohydrate plant substance) and formed by twisted, ribbon-like shaped fibers, cotton is the fruit of a shrubby plant commonly referred to as the "cotton plant". The cotton plant, a variety of plants of the genus Gossypium, belongs to the Malvacae family, which comprises approximately 1,500 species, also including the baobab tree, the bombax or the mallow. The plant, growing up to 10 metres high in the wild, has been domesticated to range between 1 to 2 metres under commercial cultivation. 

Either herbaceous or ligneous, it thrives in dry tropical and subtropical areas. Whereas by nature the plant is a perennial tree (lasting about 10 years), under extensive cultivation it is mostly grown as an annual shrub. The cotton flower has five large petals (showy, white, white-creamy, or even rose in colour), which soon fall off, leaving capsules, or "cotton bolls", having a tick and rigid external layer. The capsule bursts open upon maturity, revealing the seeds and masses of white/creamy and downy fibers. Cotton fibers of the Gossypium hirsutum species range from about 2 to 3 centimetres in length, whereas Gossypium barbadense cotton produces long-staple fibers up to 5 centimetres length. Their surface is finely indented, and they become kinked together...
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