Ahmedabad Textile IndustryAhmedabad, the business hub of Gujarat state which is often referred as 'Manchester of the East' has been thriving on its textile industry. The city has gained mostly due to its location in the cotton growing belt and also because of the river Sabarmati which requires water for manufacturing textiles. Sultan Ahmed Shah founded the city in 1411 and made it capital of his empire. The city got its name from him.
Birth of Ahmedabad Textile IndustryRight from its starting days Ahmedabad was a trading and industrial hub with textile as its major product. Akbar, the Mughal emperor conquered Gujarat in 1573 bringing Ahmedabad under his control. During his regime Ahmedabad became more famous especially in textile trade. During this time textiles were exported to Europe. This continued for a long duration till British East India Company conquered the city in 1818. The British East India Company has developed the necessary infrastructure like railway link required for the city later which Ahmedabad has become a major trade and textile manufacturing hub in India.
Boom in Ahmedabad Textile IndustryIt was during the 19th century, that the textile industry in Ahmedabad became stronger. The industry received strong capital investments from enthusiastic entrepreneurs and government. Entrepreneur Ranchhodlal Chhotalal had started the first Indian textile mill in 1861 in the name Ahmedabad Spinning and Weaving Company Limited. Later other companies like Arvid Mills, Bagicha Mills and Calico Mills started their operations which are currently the big names in Indian textile industry. By 1905, the city has got 33 textile mills growing rapidly and has got more benefited from the Swadeshi movement led by Mahatma Gandhi. Along with this other factors like the First World War, peaceful labor agreements and the first protective tariff has added to the rapid growth of the industry in Ahmedabad.
Calico Museum of TextilesFounded in 1949 and managed by the Sarabhai Foundation, the Calico Museum of Textile has an outstanding collection of Indian handicraft textiles. Fabric works and textiles used during the Mughal rule and other rulers between 15th to 19th centuries are put on display. The museum has played an important role in preparing the curriculum for students of fashion designing and also is also helpful for the current handicrafts men as a reference.
Textile Industry Post-IndependenceThe city also has a research association in the name Ahmedabad Textile Industry's Research Association (ATIRA) which was established on 13th December 1947 and started its operations from 1949. ATIRA is providing training, education and research services related to textile industry in order to pioneer the growth. During 1960's and 70’s the city has seen a rampant growth in the textile industry and has also witnessed fragmentation on a larger scale.
During the period 1951 to 1982 the number of spindles in these mills grew from 11 million to 22 million and by 1990 they have reached to 26 million. But the cotton industry was badly hit due to the famine in 1990 due to which many of the cotton mills were closed during this period. By 1999 textile industry has grown rapidly with exports of $14 billion accounting for more than one third of Indian exports.
Later after 1999 the industry saw a huge downfall with many of the mills going into shutdown mainly due to the emergence of power loom sector and global competition. By 2010 the number of non operating textile mills has gone up hugely from 290 in 2000-01 to 2,800 in 2010-11 as per Assocham report.
Present Status of Ahmedabad Textile Industry
The number of textile factories in Ahmedabad is still in a growing phase and has 5% growth (compounded annual growth rate) during 2000 to 2010. Though there are still chances of further growth in the industry lack of foreign investments, advanced manufacturing technologies, lack of economies and educated labor are still challenges to the industry. Textile industries need to take strategic path to overcome the increased domestic competition and also competition from global players added with high investment costs.