TEXTILE VALUE CHAIN had communicated to Dr. A. Sakthivel; Path Breaker, Industry Leader, Guide, Mentor, Nationalist, Philanthropist and Humanist.

Journey till now ….

Dr.A. Sakthivel took charge as Chairman of Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) in January, 2020. Dr.A. Sakthivel has been serving the Trade and Industry as Member of the Board and Chairman for four times in Apparel Export promotion Council for the last 35 years.

He is the one and only person in the history of the Council serving for the 4th time as Chairman of the Council. He played a vital role for the growth of exports of Tirupur and as well as of India.

Dr. A. Sakthivel has been elected for the second time as Chairman, FIEO in 2021. He was also six times unanimously elected as the Chairman of Federation of Indian Export Organizations, Southern Region.

Dr.A. Sakthivel, as the President of Tirupur Exporters’ Association popularly known as TEA, has been continuously in the helm of affairs for the past 27 years since establishment of TEA in 1990. He is a true visionary, self-determined, not only strong and decisive but also humble and totally committed in resolving the issues with exemplary leadership qualities. One could visualise his contributions from the growth of Tirupur exports from a mere Rs.15 Crores in 1985 to Rs.26,000 Crores in 2016-17 because of his meticulous efforts. He played a vital role in organising a seminar jointly by TEA, UNIDO and ITC, Geneva on “Competitiveness through Export Clustering Strategic Considerations” in Tirupur in which representatives and delegates from 7 Countries participated. TEA, then, received global acclamation as an association for cluster development. Dr. A. Sakthivel started out as a young ambitious entrepreneur in 1973. Through sheer hard work, dedication and innovative trade practices he has sown the seed and nurtured Poppys group of Companies to be one of the leading knitwear exporters of India with an annual group turnover of US $50 million. The success of Poppys Group is a reflection of the unstinting commitment and encouragement of Dr. A. Sakthivel whose efforts have been vital to the development of the group as one of the best administered in Tirupur.

Poppys Group has opened up global markets for its products. It exports to over 50 countries worldwide and is a trusted supplier to global brands. Poppys also has an enviable product range that includes knitted and woven wear for men, women and children. Poppys Group has embarked successfully in diversified businesses of travels, hospitality and packaging.

Dr.A.Sakthivel was a prime mover of so many visionary projects executed in Tirupur. To name a few, Tirupur Export Knitwear Industrial Complex (TEKIC), Inland Container Depot (ICD), TEA Public School, New Tirupur Area Development Corporation Limited (NTADCL), NIFT – TEA Fashion Knitwear Institute, India Knit Fair Association (IKFA) and Netaji Apparel Park (NAP) are his visionary projects.

Dr.A.Sakthivel was instrumental in implementing the third water project in Tirupur which was executed by NTADCL, formed under Public Private Partnership model with a total outlay of Rs.1,200 Crores. This project enabled uninterrupted water supply at the door steps of households and industries in Tirupur, apart from supplying water to way side villages in Panchayat Unions.

Dr.A.Sakthivel was also President of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Coimbatore for the first time an outsider from Coimbatore elected as President of ICCI. During his tenure as President, he was instrumental in building a Platinum Jubilee hall for ICCI as it was Platinum Jubilee at that time. Kongu Region still remembers, even today, the contribution and service rendered by him for trade and industry.

Dr.A.Sakthivel was the first Chairman of Apparel Made-Ups Home Furnishing Sector Skill Council (AMHSSC) started in the year 2013. Under the dynamic leadership and the efforts put forth by him for the past 5 years, AMHSSC had positioned itself to the highest stage where the Council is now considered one of the best Sector Skill Councils in the entire Country. So far training has been imparted to 6.5 Lac people and 1.5 lac RPL. Dr.A.Sakthivel is the Chairman for India Knit Fair Association (IKFA) for the last 24 years and he initiated a trade fair complex building to conduct International trade fairs. So far 47 International fairs have been conducted and as a result, International buyers and Buying agents are able to have good access to knitwear exports thereby paving the way for business development.

Dr. A. Sakthivel was also the Chairman of Tamilnadu Branch, IndoAmerican Chamber of Commerce. He played a significant role in making IACC a partner organisation to support the Government of Tamilnadu in hosting the Global Investor Meet (GIM 2019) held during 2019 at Chennai Trade Center, Chennai. He is the Chairmanof Government Affairs Committee, IACC.

Dr.A.Sakthivel, Chairman Indo American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) had joined the High Level State Government trade delegation led by Honourable Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Shri Edappadi K. Palaniswamy to United State of America and Dubai from 2nd Sep to 10th September 19.

As Indo American Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Tamil Nadu state in this industry delegation, Dr.A. Sakthivel, Chairman, IACC has organised Investors; Meet and arranged several meetings with Investors in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles for the Honourable Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. During this meet along with Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Industry Minister, Chief Secretary, Industry Secretary and other officials of Tamil Nadu and it is imperative to mention that the investors meet would bring in investments worth Rs.9000 Crores wherein 41 Companies signed the agreements resulting in job opportunities for more than 37,000 People.

The Hon’ble Chief Minister felicitated and appreciated Dr.Sakthivel for his role to conduct these meetings effectively at New York, San Jose and Dubai

Dr.A.Sakthivel is the Chairman of Kongu Global Forum, which is an association formed with representatives from the business community comprising 7 districts of Western part of Tamil Nadu – Coimbatore, Tirupur, Karur, Nilgiris, Salem, Erode and Namakkal, catchment areas for Coimbatore airport. With the persistent efforts of KGF, flight connectivity to both domestic; international destinations has increased drastically.

Dr.A.Sakthivel‘s involvement and dedication in AEPC, TEA & FIEO plays a vital role to help the growth of export sector in India, especially in SME’s, and his service has been recognized in India and also Internationally.

Dr.A.Sakthivel also served as a Director in UCO Bank, IDBI and ECGC. With his vast experience and guidance these organizations could bring about impressive policy changes for the betterment of the trade and industry.

Dr.A.Sakthivel was conferred “Padma Shri” award in the year 2009 by the Central Government in recognition of his exceptional service to the export sector. He was also conferred Degree of Doctor of Literature (Honoris Causa) on 24th November 2011 from Bharathiyar University, Coimbatore for his pivotal role in inspiring and motivating youngsters to become exporters. His determination and dedication in the various visionary projects and initiatives, his immense contribution to the growth of trade and industry and to the development of the society is highly commendable. Also noteworthy to mention here that he has been a recipient of awards “KnitSarathi”, “KonguNattu SathanaiyaalarViruthu” and “KonguMamaniViruthu”.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more you are a leader”.

India’s share and future in the global knitting industry

India’s share in Global Knitted garment exports is 3.3%. Global knitted exports in the last 9 years have increased with 1.6% India stands in the global textile industry India textile; clothing industry has been stagnant since the last 7-8 years though our competitors like Vietnam; Bangladesh have grown man folds. The reasons for this stagnant growth are many like Duty disadvantages in the EU market, Economy of Scale, Technology gap, access to MMF raw material, concentration on cotton products etc. But recently many Buyers/Brands are looking for alternate sourcing destinations other than China. This has given the opportunity for Indian exporters to capture this opportunity and boost the exports. Govt. has taken many pathbreaking actions like introduction of PIL scheme which will give much needed support to the industry in diversifying in the MMF segment and Technical Textiles. I am very positive that the coming time will enhance the Apparel exports but the Apparel exporters need to take corrective measures like increase the economy of scale, diversify in MMF and Technical textiles products, investment in technology etc..

Covid-19 effects in Indian Textile Market Apparel Industry is among the worst hit industries due to COVID-19. Apparel exports are facing the challenges of depressed global apparel demand and smaller lot orders after the pandemic resulting in 24.5% decline in India’s Apparel exports during April February, 2020-21. The Apparel sector has been able to recover partly from the recession in the global apparel demand. However, the challenges in apparel exports still persist. Also, India has emerged as the 2nd largest producer of PPE globally. This has given the huge opportunity for India in PPE products.

Potential and opportunities for India in the global textile market

There is huge potential and opportunities for India Apparel exporters like diversification in MMF; Technical Textiles products by availing benefits PLI scheme, Duty Free access to big markets like Japan & Korea. Buyers are looking for the alternate sourcing destination other than China and India fits well in all requirements of the buyers with compliant factories, presence of all kinds of raw material and huge labour force. As stated there is a huge potential and opportunity for Indian apparel manufacturers in PPE products and Medical Textiles.

Future plans for AEPC

AEPC has been doing an excellent job in protecting and promoting the interests of the apparel exporters from across the country. It was a testing time for the Council during the coronavirus pandemic and it came out in flying colors as it was able to resolve most of the issues faced by the apparel exporters due to the lockdown and other restrictions on a real time basis. The entire secretariat worked tirelessly both in terms of firefighting the crises that came one after the other and in recommending timely measures to the government for safeguarding the apparel industry, which is the second largest employment generating sector in the country after agriculture. The Council effectively executed all the strategies planned by me as its Chairman and the Board, and thus was able to lead the apparel exporting industry safely out of one of the most difficult times in our memories. To overcome the limitations in physical movement during the pandemic and difficulty in hosting trade shows across the world, AEPC launched a 24x7x365 virtual exhibition platform to showcase Indian apparels to the overseas buyers from the comfort of their homes.

The platform, which links the exporters and buyers at almost no cost when compared to physical exhibitions, is an example of being future ready and AEPC has already done it. Another example of transforming oneself under changing scenarios is the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). At the start of the pandemic, there was negligible production of PPE items in the country around March 2020. Within a couple of months under the leadership of AEPC and with the active support of the government, Indian apparel exporters found a new business opportunity and made India the world’s second largest producer of PPE. Further, the Council has taken up promoting manmade fibre (MMF) based garments in a big way to align domestic production in tune with the global demand. Based on the request of AEPC government has announced a Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for the MMF segment and technical textiles and soon we believe we can significantly increase India’s share in global apparel trade. We continue to identify bottlenecks and opportunities and get these resolved and for that AEPC is willing to go the extra mile and take a new avatar.

Potential of Indian Knitting industry to serve global apparel demand/ market.

In the last 9 years India’s knitted garment exports have shown a CAGR growth of 4% which shows that we are constantly increasing our knitted garments exports. India has the capability to serve the global knitted garment demands coupled with the positive sentiments for India, increasing R&D in knitted products, investment in technology etc.

Message for aspiring textile professionals

The aspiring textile professionals must understand the global textile industry, garments that are in high demand, markets where demands can be met, new trends in the industry, should be flexible and alert to rejig their production capacity to suit the emerging demands and fashion. They should focus more on MMF garments rather than garments made of natural fibres like cotton as India already has a strong foundation in the cotton industry but need to build its production capacity in the MMF segment.

Significance of knitting industry in global and Indian Fashion industry

Knitted garments contribute to 50.5% in global garments exports and India’s share of knitted garment is 53.4% in total garment exports, this shows the significance of knitted garments in both Global and India’s apparel exports