Building A Strong Bridge Between Education And Textile Industries.

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Following below is the Interview with Dr. P.P Raichurkar.

Dr. Pramod Raichurkar is the Additional Director at Mantra Man made Textile Industries Research Association Surat.

QUESTIONS:

  • Share your Education and Professional Journey with our readers.

I started my career in 1980, in Bombay Dyeing in cotton terry weaving technology. I started Silk Research from 1984, and from 2007 on wards I have been in textile education and Research at Centre for Textiles- NMIMS deemed to be university.

From last 12 years, I have been devoted to Industry-Institute interactions leading to enhancing education of technical personnel to develop practical competency in textile production,planning, maintenance and other allied activities in textile manufacturing processes such as Spinning, weaving, knitting, chemical processing, garmenting etc.

My focus is to bridge the gap between industry and education by industry participation in educating students. The advantage of this enhanced education system is that technical personnel get trained in the latest technology present in textile industries, so that technical graduates are ready to work from the day one on the production floor. Hence,industry training component is reduced to minimum. To further add, each technical personnel is given one industry specific project in the corporate textile industry leading to solutions for the production problems which is then published in relavant textile journals.

Education system developed at CTF NMIMS deemed to be university is unique in that it selects rural students with poor background, trains and prepares them giving a result of 100 % placement in the textile industry. Curriculum for DTT BTech is such that students spend 60% of their time on technologically advanced production floor. After receiving industrial training with academic refining, the students are ready and confident to work for the textile production units dedicatedly and very soon become a valuable asset to the production unit in the company.

  • Being an educationist how did your journey in industry life unfolded?

 I am proud of my professional career in textile industry education and research. This was possible due to valuable guidance of senior textile industry mentors viz Mr  M Srinivasan who is Ex-CEO at Bombay Dyeing, Mr RH Bengeri who is Ex- CEO at Silk Research,  Dr T. H. Somashekar who is Director Rtd at CSTRI, Mr D Mahadevappa, who is Additional Director at Rtd DOS GOK,   Dr Rajan Saxena who is Ex-VC at NMIMS Deemed to be university, Mr M S Anjane who is  Executive Director at Rtd PSSGL,  Prof H V Sreenivasmurthy,VJTI, Mr K H Gopal who is HR  President at Alok industries and Mr Updeep Singh who is HR President Welspun. These are few leaders from  textile industry who helped me give a unique shape to education system to provide employable programs with textile industry participation in education. Hence initiate useful projects and researches to contribute to textile industry by textile graduates.The curriculum is built in such a way that in addition to regular teaching by experienced faculties,textile industry mentors also guide and monitor each graduate for industrial projects.

  • As a Mentor, what qualities, capabilities you try to instil in your PHD
    students?

As a PhD course requires in-depth thorough research, we select students to get involved in innovative work in Textiles aiming to improve quality, enhance productivity, to offer new technological advancements, to produce eco-friendly sustainable solutions to textile industry problems. To add, optimum utilisation of the technology and resources has to be taught to each technical personnel for an all-round expertise after the PhD course.

  • How has the textile industry evolved in the past few years?

The Indian textile industry is one the most important industries for the Indian economy. Its importance is underlined by the fact that it accounts for around 5% of GDP, 14% of the industrial production and 17% of the country’s total export earnings. Besides, the sector employs nearly 35 million employees; the textile industry is the second-largest employment generating industry in both rural and urban areas, after the agriculture industry. The vast pool of skilled and unskilled workers, availability of labour at low costs, strong base for production of raw materials characterize the textile industry in India.The Indian textile Industry is modernising rapidly in all segments of Textile processes such as Spinning, Weaving, Knitting, Chemical processing and Garment manufacturing etc. Despite being a widespread industry and its contribution to the economy, the Indian textile industry is still at the developing stage wherein a lot of major changes are required to bring the industry at international standards. There are players who excel in terms of quality and quantity for exports but the majority are localised, mis-managed industries which need refining. Accesstoa smooth and quick supply chain in entire production circle is a major concern. There is acute shortage of technically trained employees to work for and with the automation of textile industry. Technical textiles are gaining demand and recognition andhave good future in the country with the support from Centre of excellence under various COE developed by ministry of Textiles. There are companies who are at par with the industry trends and developments but the Indian textile industry as a whole has a long way to go.

  • What are the latest trends in the industry?

The changes which have been long due are happening with speed now, owing to the major concerns rising about sustainability and microbe-protection.  After the COVID-19 aftermath, there have been a lot of developments in technical textiles with special properties. For example, production of eco-friendly Textiles with Anti-microbial treatments for the apparel /baby Care and for allied health care products are being offered in technical textiles.

Thus, increased usage of Technical Textiles in various segments such as apparel, agriculture, infrastructure, auto sector /transportation and communication, textiles is making its way to provide improved life style.Textile industry in India needs automation to support large scale quality manufacturing. There is a big scope in decentralised sector to upgrade technology and supply chain systems required for automation in India. For this awareness program for the entrepreneurs has to be made available.

  • Sustainability, Carbon footprint, Waste management:how it’s relevant and important? It’s just a talk of the town or any fruitful measures are taken by the industries?

 Sustainability, carbon foot print and waste management is essentially required for textile industry growth in the country. Textile hard waste reutilisation and recycling has to be done to protect nature. As of today, systematic hard waste recycling or regeneration has to be worked out. Viz Carbon fibre hard waste especially electronic goods produced by carbon composites are problem to the entire world its production is not degradable and hence not sustainable.

Most of the industries mention the steps taken by them and future objectives in their annual reports which they do achieve. But strict measures have to be taken to do a lot more research & development and to implement the best solutions in the textile industries. As of now, an alternative to textiles is far fetched thought, hence, the present industry has to move forward keeping in mind the sustainability factor.

  • How do you personally adopt sustainability in your life?

I try to incorporate eco-friendly natural textiles and I promote the usage of the same.As mentioned before, I make efforts for the participation of textile industry in education to develop sustainable system to meet requirements of both the parties. These efforts are to provide textile industry with competent technician’s requirement and on the other hand provide the rural youth with basic qualification of SSC and gainful employment after 3 years of education in Textiles. I have implemented this successfully in cotton textile industries. I have developed an educational curriculum model for man- made Textiles, Wool and Silk industries.The need based sustainable textile education model needs to be promoted in rural India where textile Industry base is being spread at a fast pace.

  • How did COVID-19 change the way you interact and work?

Well COVID has affected normal life of everyone. The whole textile industry stood at a halt for days,&now almost all are working to full strength. Migration of competent workers has affected   normal working of the corporate textile industry. Where as in decentralised sector export orders are reduced drastically. Some technical textile orders have substantially increased viz mask and PPE KITS. Personally, for me, as an educationist & researcher, I got  great opportunity to work more in a different environment & meet challenges in integrating the students and textile industry during COVID. Our priority is, and always will be promotion of technical textiles for health and hygiene maintenance by encouraging technical textiles producers with structured educational program jointly by Education /Textile Industry /Research institutes association for grooming new generation workforce, leaders and entrepreneurs.