Established in 1933 at Coimbatore by R K Shanmukam Chettiar, who later became the first finance minister of independent India, Southern India Mills’ Association (SIMA) began with eleven founding members. Today there are 400 plus members who represent textile mills of the southern states.
Improving the production process, in terms of raw materials and other inputs, technology, equipment, ensuring harmonious industrial relations are some of the issues that SIMA addresses.
Today half of the spinning mills in India are in Tamil Nadu and major concentrations of these are located around Tirupur, Coimbatore, Dindigul and Karur. Power looms and sophisticated textile machinery have been in use in increasing numbers since the 1980s.
The highly qualified Secretary General of SIMA, Dr K Selvaraju explained the current global scenario: “China is the largest producer of textiles and accounts for 34 per cent of the global textile manufacture. India is next to China with 5.2 per cent of global share. In 1997, China started scrapping old mills and in the process, 10 million spindles went into the trash bin. At that time India had 32 million spindles. Today, China has 130 million spindles and India has just 50 million!”
SIMA has been assisting farmers, weavers and textile mills with latest technologies. Through this, the organisation has helped double production of textiles.
Referring to the problems faced by dyeing units, Selvaraju pointed out: “nowhere in the world zero liquid discharge is practised. Dyeing units can be helped to go for marine discharge. We have asked the government to give subsidies for zero liquid discharge and marine discharge,” he said.
On the future of Indian textile industry, Selvaraju said: “for centuries India has been the textile manufacturing hub. India introduced cotton to the whole world. Even today, hectic manufacturing activity takes place in India, especially in Tamil Nadu. The future of the textile industry will always be bright.”