The textile sector attracted Rs 4,292 cr in investments from the state’s players, with Manjushree Garments committing Rs 340 cr and Shahi Exports Rs 150 cr, at the Invest Karnataka-2022 Global Investors Meet (GIM). The sector is expected to generate 36,457 jobs.

Textiles Minister Shankar Patil Munenakoppa attributed the achievement to the government’s textile and apparel policy for 2019-2024, which helped beat the Covid-19 pandemic situation.

Department Secretary Pankaj Kumar Pandey said initiatives such as 5 percent interest subsidy to mega industries and MSMEs, incentives and concessions up to 100 percent, enhancement of wage subsidy from Rs 1,500 to Rs 3,000 in Kalyana Karnataka region, and Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000 in the rest of the state, contributed to its success.

Four textile parks on the PPP model have been planned in places beyond Bengaluru, for which tenders will be called shortly. The Central Government is expected to grant one of seven mega parks to Karnataka, which may come up either at Kalaburagi or Vijayapura, Pandey said.

But experts on the panel such as T Ramalingam, while appreciating the government for its policy, observed that the industry has a long way to go as all machinery, including sewing and knitting machines, are imported. “We are missing the bus on technological improvement, and are not using artificial intelligence to develop the textile sector. None of the textile machines, except the spinning ones from Coimbatore, are made in India, and we are paying huge amounts to import them. Unfortunately, all raw materials, especially dyes, are from China,” he remarked.

“We are only talking about textiles when major exporters from Europe are setting up their backend offices in Bengaluru.”Naseer Humayun, another expert, observed that it is only the garment industry that gives back 30 percent of its revenue to the communities, and hoped the state takes a big leap in becoming the garment capital of the country. Koushaldendra Narayan of Silver Spark presented environmentally and economically sustainable practices adopted by the industry.