Indian cotton Industry- Then & Now

The Beginning Of Cotton Industry

India is major player in the cotton manufacturing industry. In fact, it is the second largest cotton textile producer in the world. It’s history is also very long, when it comes to cotton. The first cotton mill in India was setup in what is present day Kolkata in 1818. The first mill in Bombay, now known as Mumbai, was started back in 1854. This city was destined to become the home of the cotton mill industry in the country.

The early concentration of the cotton textile industry in Mumbai was not governed by the natural and permanent factors. In fact the actual reasons were other advantages. Like for example, abundance of capital and credit facilities, the presence of cheap, as well as, speedy means of transport and the temporary growth of the demand for yarn from countries like China. These factors made Mumbai an exceptionally favorable destination for the cotton industry.

The Turning Point Of Cotton Industry

However, the year 1877 was the actual turning point in the development of the industry. At least from the point of view of its distribution. This time was the beginning of a rapid construction of mills in upcountry centres such as Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Sholapur, Kolhapur, etc. These places were situated right in the heart of the cotton-producing tracts of western & central India.

This later distribution was influenced by natural factors, like the vicinity of sources of raw material, plentiful labour, as well as, large marketing centres. To add to these there was the development of a railway communication.

The cotton industry received a huge stimulus from the economic conditions created by war. Enormous patronage extended to the mills by the Government in respect of their military requirements in cotton goods in the Asia Pacific theatre of the second world war. Along with the shrinkage in the Lancashire imports from England into India led to a considerable increase in home consumption. This was primarily due to the preoccupation of the Lancashire mills with war in the European theatre. There was also a sharp rise in the prices of imported cloth due to shipping shortage. In spite of this the difficulty of importing machinery did indeed prevented rapid development which would otherwise have definitely taken place.

Sara International Bag printing

Sara International Factory

Present Day Situation Of The Cotton Industry In India

Coming to the present post-independence situation, there has been a trend on the part of the Indian mills to increase the manufacture of finer goods. As a result of which, a certain amount of long-staple cotton. These are imported from the USA and from elsewhere in this world for this purpose. An improvement in the quality of the home-grown cotton is now changing the situation.

However, even within these particular areas of India, the industry is predominantly concentrated within just a few important industrial centres. For example, like Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Sholapur, Vadodara, Coimbatore, Kalol, Bhagalpur, Warangal, Calcutta, Howrah, Serampur, Pune, Kanpur, Delhi, Indore, Gwalior, Konnagar, Sodepur, Panihati, etc.

There are over 1200 cotton mills in India. 283 of these are known to be composite mills. While the remaining are the spinning mills. In terms of state wise production, Maharashtra tops the list with 16.4 per cent yarn, as well as, 52.3 per cent cloth production in the country. It is followed by Tamil Nadu with 30.4% yarn and 8.8% fabric production. The other major producers are Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal & Karnataka. One example of such growing numbers of cotton bags suppliers is Sara International, which is an exporter, as well as, a manufacturer.