The 61st Annual General Meeting of The Southern India Mills’ Association (SIMA) was held on 23rd September, 2020 at SIMA Conference Hall, Coimbatore. Immediately after the 61st  AGM, the new members of Committee at its first meeting unanimously re-elected Mr.Ashwin Chandran, Chairman & Managing Director, Precot Meridien Limited, Coimbatore as the Chairman of SIMA for the year 2020-21.

The Coimbatore based Precot Meridien Group is having textile units in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.  Mr.Ashwin Chandran, a B.Sc., (Hons) Graduate in Textile Technology, UMIST, UK and Post-Graduate (MBA) from University of Illinois, USA, is a member of Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council, Mumbai and Confederation of Indian Textile Industry, New Delhi.

Mr.Ravi Sam, Managing Director, Adwaith Textiles Private Limited, Coimbatore, has been unanimously re-elected as the Deputy Chairman for the year 2020-21.  Mr Ravi Sam is a commerce graduate and holds Post-graduate Diploma in Textile Technology from The University of Manchester Institute of Science & Technology.  He is a founder Trustee of Siruthuli, the movement of preservation of water bodies in Coimbatore.  He is involved in various social welfare activities.  He was the Chairman of CII Tamil Nadu and at present Chairman of CII SR Sub Committee on Sustainability, CSR & Affirmative Action to bring inclusiveness to the marginalized sectors of the society covering all the six Southern States.

Dr S K Sundararaman, Managing Director, Shiva Texyarn Limited, Dindigul, has been unanimously re-elected as the Vice-Chairman for the year 2020-21.    He holds an MBBS Degree and Masters in Business Management from Cambridge University, U.K.  Dr Sundararaman is a well known personality in the field of Technical Textiles in India and also in the field of Technical Education. He is the Managing Trustee of the FIREBIRD INSTITUTE OF RESEARCH IN MANAGEMENT.  He has been a member in various business forums at a national level.  He was the past Chairman of CII, Coimbatore, Educational Convenor CII, Tamilnadu.   Currently, he is the Chairman of Indian Technical Textile Association.

Welcome Address of Mr.Ashwin Chandran, Chairman, SIMA at the 14th CEO Conference of the Association – SIMA TEXPIN 2020 – at 2.30 pm on 23rd September 2020 at SIMA Conference Hall, Coimbatore.

Good afternoon friends,

I have great pleasure in welcoming you all for the 14th CEO conference of the Association – SIMA TEXPIN 2020 virtually on the theme “Competitiveness of the Indian Textile Industry in the Global Market”.  You are all aware that we have been conducting SIMA TEXPIN event coinciding the Annual General Meeting every year.  Due to COVID-19 pandemic, we could not organize the event on a larger scale as usual.  However, we have shorter version of TEXPIN on the virtual platform.  Due to prolonged lockdown, we could not conduct the Technoquest Bench Marking Survey and give the Techno Facts Awards for this year.  I thank all the member mills, who have been actively participating in the survey.  The Association would soon resume the monthly survey once the normalcy is restored.

Friends, today, we are honoured to have our new Textile Commissioner, Ms.Roop Rashi, IA & AS., as the Chief Guest for the SIMA TEXPIN 2020.  At the outset, I thank our Textile Commissioner, Ms.Roop Rashi, IA & AS, for accepting our invitation and agreeing to formally inaugurate this virtual Conference.  I extend a warm welcome on behalf of the entire textile industry in South India for this conference.

I also welcome Mr.Agneshwar Sen, Head, Trade Policy, Associate Partner, Ernst & Young LLP, Gurgaon and Mr.Chinmaya Goyal, Senior Manager, Ernst & Young LLP, Gurgaon to the SIMA TEXPIN 2020, who will be addressing on the theme “Competitiveness of the Indian Textile Industry in the Global Market”

Madam, our Association established in the year 1933 by Sir R.K.Shanmugam Chetty, the first Finance Minister of independent India, has been representing the entire textiles and clothing value chain right from its inception.  Our Association has been closely partnering not only with State Governments in South India, but more so with the Central Government especially the Ministry of Textiles in all the policy making bodies and playing a pivotal role for the development of the Textiles & Clothing in the country. We are also closely associating with the Office of the Textile Commissioner for decades.

Madam, we highly appreciate and thank the Hon’ble Minister of Textiles, Secretary, Ministry of Textiles and entire team in the Ministry of Textiles for aggressively addressing various issues confronting the Textiles & Clothing industry during Covid-19 pandemic period and also for taking various proactive measures to make the industry globally competitive.  Several historical reforms like bringing entire cotton textile value chain under 5% GST, removing anti-dumping duty on PTA and rejecting the proposed ADD on PSF and MEG, facilitating coastal movement of textile goods, providing transshipment facilities for raw cotton in all the major ports especially Tuticorin and Kochi, reduction of hank yarn obligation from 40% to 30% are laudable.   Madam, for us, Textile Commissioner is our captain and we are fortunate to have your goodself as the Textile Commissioner and all your initiatives taken in shorter duration have greatly benefited the industry.

Madam, though your goodself are aware of various challenges and opportunities of the Indian textiles and clothing industry, considering the theme of the Conference, we would like to make few appeals to your goodself at this juncture.

We fully appreciate the concerted efforts taken by your goodself to address the various issues relating to TUFs and over Rs.10,000 crores of TUF subsidy under different Schemes got blocked due to the procedural issues.    Madam, we also suggest that a major portion of the TUF subsidy could be released against bank guarantee and the balance could be released after the completion of JIT.  Since JIT inspection has been stalled due to COVID-19 pandemic, the industry is not able to get the funds.  As the volume of work for JIT is getting accumulated with the limited manpower, it would take years to complete the JIT and release the subsidies.  Therefore, we request your goodself to commence the JIT immediately with necessary precautions and also simplify the guidelines and protocols so that the scheme becomes industry-friendly. We are sure that your goodself would soon address the issues relating to TUFS.

Madam, though the Government has announced several relief measures to mitigate COVID-19 challenges,  the debt restructuring facilities for non-MSMEs are available only when the accounts are standard as on 1st March 2020.  As the T&C industry had been facing long drawn recession, the HMOT was kind enough to recommend two years moratorium period during November 2019.  Considering the severe financial stress being faced by the industry, we request your goodself to kindly make a recommendation in this regard.

Madam, at the cotton stakeholders meeting and subsequent internal meeting organized by your goodself on 21st September 2020, the closing stock for the cotton season 2019-20 has been estimated as 105 lakh bales.  For the cotton season 2020-21, the acreage is likely to further increase and therefore, we might reach a record crop of 400 lakh bales in the coming season.  However, under the current COVID-9 lockdown and pandemic situation, we might be in a position to reach the normal few more.  The export demand would also be lesser as the world cotton stock position would also increase steeply.  CCI would incur huge losses and we might carry a huge stock for a longer duration. Cotton being a bio-degradable material, the quality parameters like strength and grade would deteriorate over a period.

Therefore, there is an urgent need to announce a special package for boosting cotton consumption by including all the cotton textile products under IES, MEIS and RoSCTL/RoDTEP and also announce a special incentive of 4% for cotton yarn, 5% for fabric and 6% for garments and made-ups to boost exports and increase cotton consumption.  In this regard, we have already made a representation to the HMOT and therefore based on the recent estimate and also the request made by the industry at the cotton stakeholders’ meet, we request your goodself to kindly make a recommendation to the Government in this regard.

These are the few key issues that we wanted to flag at this juncture and we are sure under your dynamic leadership, the textiles & clothing industry would bounce back to normalcy very soon and become vibrant in the global market.  We once again thank Madam, E & Y team for joining this virtual CEO Conference and I welcome each and every one of you for this conference.