Saving the textile industry of India (Unfiltered, because its the whole truth), Scroll directly to bottom if you only want to read the brief written in bold

Indian textile industry is struggling. The men of influence who can create actionable change are all illiterate traders who have made money by kidnapping, and scamming people over the years. No wonder they also happen to be hyper-religious and strong BJP supporters. I come from a family with a small textile business. I have witnessed the devastating loss of business in the past 4 years. There’s enough speculation to see that the textile industry is shrinking every year and will continue to do so until we intervene. Many businesses have declared bankruptcy, and many continue to do so. A lot of the reasons could be attributed to external factors which need strong advocacy for textile MSMEs.

An idea, I had as an undergraduate student in the States, studying in the top 10 best schools in the globe for my major. I had an internship at the world’s biggest manufacturing company in Chicago and was offered a full-time job too. Ever since the pandemic looking at how garbage and broken the Indian system is, I could never let the thought of coming home go. Maybe, if it weren’t for the pandemic, I would be one of those Sharma ji ka chad ladka guys who’s immigrated to the USA, given his brown family reason to support their toxic culture with bragging rights, and installed inferiority complex in other relatives who couldn’t make it there. Thankfully for this one dumb mistake of mine, today I am the victim of the brown abusive complex for returning back to India because of my own free will, instead of accepting a high-paying job, with good career growth opportunities.

Back in college, I worked upon and won case consulting competitions from business schools, and became the executive of top student government associations and the entrepreneurship club. Even won a competition organized in accordance with an Ai tool for identifying high-risk minorities in select counties with high racial disparities. The idea was to use socio-economic determinants of health to effectively identify covid before it gets to the said people. While that’s another story altogether. The whole time during the pandemic, I was in the USA, and my whole family had COVID in India. My grandfather from my mom’s family passed away along with my grandmother. They were given covid by a man who knew he had it and lied like many other Indians who refused to get tested and endangered and murdered others in our so-called “Vishwaguru” society. The second wave came during my finals, and instead of studying for the exam, I was one of the thousands of Indians who were constantly using Twitter to pool resources and use Telegram groups to help people. I barely passed my exams but the important thing was to help people which this dictatorial government abandoned. Even in times of crisis while there were Gen-Z Indians across the globe saving people from dying, the mentality of the older Indians showed its true form. Politicians forcefully held hospital beds, ambulance services charged thousands to do something that was their job, and oxygen cylinders being black marketed, and sold by scams. I even made a petition to make BJP accountable for the PM Cares fund which they probably put into sticking the old supreme leader’s photo on every petrol pump in the country instead of putting dustbins there. No wonder, the petition got taken down within an hour of upload and around 30 signatures from r/india. I knew the society is garbage, and Indians love exploiting and abusing. This worried me about the status of Indians who are always the victims at the bottom of the ladder.

Under this, I started looking more and more deeper into my roots, and my family’s occupation, the textile industry. I looked into how smaller businesses were dying, and I looked into how backward we are as a society, as a culture, and as a country. Any textile trader you would meet is a pure reflection of the Indian culture, purely abusive, a scammer and exploiter by nature, and a low-grade human being with no moral character. For example, a few months ago a textile mill had a gas leak that killed 20 laborers. 3 days ago the man who runs it, was crowned as the winner of one of the largest textile associations in the city. Had it been any other intellectual country with basic humanity such people would be behind bars instead of winning elections and taking road shows out, some skill they learned from their beloved PM. Chances are I will also be a victim of UAPA someday.

So, coming to the content of this post, and getting away from the context of it. The reason I felt the need to outlay my chain of events that brought me here, is because I made an assumption that everyone here is well-read and isn’t a garbage human being like most men I meet every day. Whenever I presented this idea to Indians, most of them Marwaris of BIMARU states, they abused me, made fun of the idea, and blatantly asked me how can they make money through this. The ignorance, the sheer lack of morals here is astonishing. The Marwari traders don’t even try to hide their list of crimes, they wear it like a medal as if it’s something they are supposed to be proud of. This is their culture, and I fail to become part of this category of goons. The rap sheet of crimes includes scamming people, defrauding payments, selling defective products, kidnapping employees of other companies, and so on. The usual bribing of government officials is a daily thing. The business model here revolves around scamming and defrauding others, and I have met far too many people who smirk and brag about how they ‘fu**ed’ the other guy over. These simpletons believe they are heroes of some Bollywood movie. As you will later read I want to give 100% context to the people, the place, and the industry itself, and for a good reason, which you will understand as you read further.

When I used to hear about several businesses dying in Surat’s unorganized textile industry, I used to also see how can we make it better. I saw the gaps of transparency, of the supply chain, of no trust (due to scamming nature of Indians globally, “yes” we are known to be scammers), I saw that the world wants an alternative to China, and I saw that we could become it. Anyone who thinks change isn’t possible needs to look at Bangladesh and its growth in the last 3 decades for textiles. They need to look at the investments and R&D Southeast Asian nations are doing especially Vietnam. One of my friends works for a supply chain company that’s currently doing road analysis for one of the south-eastern governments that increasingly spending on its infrastructure to bring the textile industry to them and become China 2.0. I even met giants in Surat who want to move to Vietnam due to the ease of business in those countries, and the governmental policies. Let’s get real here, this country will never get over casteism, and corruption for the next 100 years. As much as you fake, ease of business in India, you will have to bribe politicians, and bureaucrats, or else you won’t make much in your entrepreneurship journey here. Not everyone’s born into a trading family that has pre-established networking and connections that reduce the inefficiency caused due to these parasites.

So with my own notions and some intuition I assumed as a 20-year-old student in the USA, how about we conduct a mega-scale research collaboration with India, to figure out the challenges we face in Surat and how can we mitigate them to become a global leader in textile exports? We have invested the capital into machines, and factories that can meet the globe’s demands for textiles, we just suck at making it work to the right productivity levels. Leveraging the full potential of our infrastructure and productivity would make us better, eliminate the middleman that plagues the globally fragmented supply chain, and offer transparency which makes the EU nations and NA love working with Bangladesh. Think about it, textile has 4 broad segments, ‘spinning’, ‘weaving’, ‘processing’ and finally ‘garmenting’. The first 3 segments require heavy capital investment, while the latter needs less capital and more labor. Ironically India is well established in the first 3 meaning if anything we have a massive opportunity to create more jobs. I always wondered how weak your manufacturing has to be for there to be a parallel industry of resellers and exporters in New Delhi that makes more money than the manufacturers themselves and that rationalization was short-lived, once I came back to Surat and started meeting and studying people here. A key statement in Indian MSME trading culture is that “people have zero ethics”, it’s non-existent, and after seeing things people do here, I realized why basic presentation and bridging trust gaps were so important that building a parallel industry of exporters.

I am a big reader, and I was reading about the research collaboration between the University of Washington and the Government of Delhi (funny, assuming its Indian politicians leading change, but some of them are educated beyond caste politics, just like how I would like to see my leadership) over studying and mitigating pollution in the city. I approached the Industrial Engineering department at my school and presented this grand proposal of Industry 4.0 in the Surat textile industry. With the aim of turning our 6% textile exports, into the 50% China has. I explained to them how our wastes are so much, that we have a very high rate of defective production, which increases our costs, and results in us not being globally competitive, even with our high rate of labor exploitation and substandard quality of dyes used. Example: a 100-meter production of a batch of fabric in China would maybe yield a 7-meter defect. So a total of 107 meters to achieve the 100 meters of working quality product. The same in India would be a 30-meter defect, meaning a total of 130 meters of 100 meters of working quality product. We will adjust the prices of our 100-meter accounting for the loss faced in the 30-meter defect. Now multiply that loss with every segment and you see the massive amount of inefficiency.

The beauty of the unorganized industry is that textiles have a thousand permutations and combinations, and with each smaller business specializing in one part of the equation we have the distribution of wealth equitable compared to other industries in the country. But once again with every new guy, and at every stage, the losses are multi-fold multiplied. I slowly see us as an industry dying down and the businesses heading towards centralization aka. the 1.5 billion Indians being dominated by a few textile giants. A cause for concern for me, my family, my dependants, and the other 100 million Indians who are directly and indirectly employed by the industry. A vision for the future of what we would look like 40 years after is needed, and here the associations and men of influence are all “bhagwan bharose” who wouldn’t even know or bother to care about situations 3 months from today. Most of the associations are run as social status clubs for the elites, for more chai-samosa parties, and some are even run by the mafia and gangsters. My definition of a mafia is any body of people who are known to use force to abuse, scare and harass people in business. I don’t want to get into specifics because it gets vile. There are situations of brothers scamming brothers, best friends scamming back friends, and just the most horrible human crowd in it. I am often asked the question why do you want to help such people by my professors in the USA, and I always reply to help the people at the bottom of the ladder, to save my dad’s legacy, and for people to know I wasn’t as ignorant to this as everyone else is. If it’s so hard for a person like me who has connections to bring a change, I only wonder how hard would it be for an average kid in India to dream better, and create change when people are hell-bent on dragging you down. I hope that someday this work inspires a thousand others to believe you can create mega-scale changes, no matter where you come from and how little you are, the identity of the house you are born in, and your age has nothing to do with the value you can create. It doesn’t have to be a barrier. For me to email professors or people of high achievements in the USA is so easy, they respect you, they respond to you, and they are positive of your ideas and give constructive advice on making it work, whereas it’s completely the opposite for Indians, who don’t want to give you time, who take the first 10 mins to establish they are big people and richer than you, they judge you with their eyes, and the conversations always have no constructive advice or any valuable exchange of words. It’s like a 20-year-old guy is as knowledgeable as a 50-year-old guy in the Indian industry because they failed to use their brains here, they only put their brains on what other guy is doing and figuring out how to break his business or scam him. There’s literally zero knowledge, zero introspection, and zero information you would receive from a man whos 50 as compared to speaking to someone whos 20. The only valuable added experience these 50 years offer is extremely sophisticated ways to scam and fraud others, which would even baffle the writers of the movie “Inception”. They are highly effective and sophisticated when it comes to figuring out how to promote unhealthy competition and bad business practices and nothing else. One uncle felt the need to tell me out of the blue “I am meeting CP tonight”, I am like what, he’s like “CP- Commissioner of Police”. I don’t know if I should be impressed but that’s how these idiots think. A psyche the more I try to understand the more my brain numbs.

To the people wondering why I have given you so much added context instead of just talking about what I am seeking here, I want to let you know, that every time I initiate a conversation, people ask me “What are you getting out of it”, “what’s your angle”, “where do I make money”, “how can I use you to make me more money”, the conversation shifts from the goal of talking about change to people blatantly asking me to work for them and try to subdue me into being exploited. I give you all the insights as to how and why I want to do this, and no there’s no money being involved for me here, it’s the larger good for all of us, but these simpletons have a hard time believing it. One uncle made me wait 3 hours outside the time he asked me to meet him, and then told me "Forget this, I saw you worked for XYZ company in Chicago, I want to set up the plant of that thing in India’, for a second I was shaking and then I told him that illegal, I told him that this product is a medical device which was approved by FDA and takes years and that you can’t just copy it. I even said they will sue him legally for it, it’s an intellectual property violation and he laughed and said he owns everyone and all bureaucrats are in his pocket and he will get permission for the factory, and Indians are known to manufacture copycat products. He then offered me numbers for what it would take for me to set him up with the plant. I escaped that somehow, and then a man even invited me to a Diwali party, pressuring my dad to send me to meet him on the pretext of a family gathering. Today he has ventured into real estate, and we all know how that industry works in India.

The domestic demand for ethnic Indian wear is dying, the generation is more interested in being fashionable which is heavily lobbied and brainwashed to us by the West. The idea of modern fashion completely skips the Indian ethnic wear scene. That means that the several clusters of artisans in India, the traditional weaving practices are at risk. We need more lobbying on this, if people feel Western clothes are easier, simpler, comfortable, and more stylish to wear then we need to also figure out ways to promote our ethnic wear keeping these factors in mind. It’s hard to challenge such a huge lobbying factor, and then we have cronies like Ambanis. A expose needs to be published on him, not that we have any real journalism going on in this country besides the few digital publications that cater to no more than 20% of the digital audience. Ambani’s wife creates a center to promote Indian ethnic wear and culture, while her husband legit partners with more than 50+ ultra-luxury Western fashion brands in India to sell their products. I understand the majority of this country is ignorant, but to not connect the dots here is just blatant mockery at this point.

So now we have established the weak Indian mindset, the character of people in the business, the lack of inspiring people here, the foresight of a dying culture, tradition, and jobs with it, and the hypocrisy of the Indian elites. The only thing solid here is me convincing my dean to take an interest and he did. He said, “This is not quiet research (because research means creating new knowledge)and not quite consulting, but somewhere in between, and he said he loves it”. We have an industry here that has not changed since the 1960s, the massive scope of change, the massive opportunities to be sustainable, and the environmental impacts it creates. These MSMEs can also potentially create so many new jobs, not just for manual laborers and artisans, but for educated young Indians who are unemployed. They can create several jobs in the field of fashion, data, manufacturing, and so on, and migrate away from Indian “Seth” culture, where a seth sits and verbally abuses and physically assaults his employees daily and takes away all the money and buys his BMW, while his employees suffer in silence, are victims of inflation, and are put through working conditions where they can die daily. The “Seth” culture needs to end. We need to modernize this industry and make it equitable. The wealth disparity here is mirrored what is in India, with 99% of the bottom having 3% wealth while the top 1% has the 97%. Every factory contributes to accidental labor deaths yearly which result in at least a rough figure of 600+ people dying every year due to factors that could have been avoided.

There are several Indians who have been in this business for their whole lives, the only trade skill they know is this. If this goes away, how will they feed themselves and their dependents? What are we doing to advocate for them? What are we doing to make this industry more resilient? A lot of questions but zero answers. So many of these daily wage workers have no financial security, they will have no money on themselves to eat if they missed a week of work due to sickness. The Indian factories abuse the laborers daily, and we are far away from occupational safety in this country. I visited a government-funded lab and met the president of one of the trader associations, I tried to understand the government’s role in the industry, and they complained that the surat textile commissioner governs us through an office in Bombay instead in the city itself. They approached her to carry out a survey and she told them to do it themselves. While they argued there was a lack of unity and that the government needs to intervene, she just made excuses. (We shouldn’t be surprised at how bureaucrats work when there is no camera and PR machine involved) I explained to them that an academic activity would never harm anyone, it may give solutions to problems, or at least identify more details on why we cannot pursue this area, and look at alternatives.

Another thing to add is due to the weak credentials of industry organizations the breadth of the stakeholders don’t take them seriously or believe they can bring an actionable change. Factors such as mafia culture, PR stunts, and nepotism are the case. The fact here is while many of them aren’t intellectual enough to understand how the research can benefit us, or at least give us an idea of what can we do to become better, most of them don’t want or care for the change, because they are influential people who earn in crores, and they don’t want to care or advocate for people bottom of the ladder, maybe because they fear losing status quo or control, both of which are very stupid outcomes to believe in. Their mindset peaks when they can show the other 20 people in their circle, in terms of how much wealth they have, and show it off, feel good, as wealthy people are worshipped here and that’s it. There’s no vision to be better, to do better, to be inspiring, there’s only I wanna make sure I make more than others and show off, and that would be maybe a bar of 20 crores, I don’t have the vision to create 20,000 crores, or help society, or advocate for the benefit for the industry at large. I dont want to invest in young talent, and new ideas, to do better, but if someone does something I will make it my life’s sole mission to destroy his business and stop it from succeeding. The lack of innovation baffles me here, along with the lack of critical thinking and logical reasoning, and so on. People here dont want to do anything, but once something gets introduced they will love copy-pasting and plagiarising. You see they plagiarise the websites of Zara, and H&M and copy all their designs, but are secretive about their own textiles like it’s a map to the fountain of youth. The hypocrisy of Indians is astonishing. To do 2 brain cell work, steal others’ ideas and artistry, and then be super protective about stolen work.

You see there’s only one thing unform about traits here and that is every stakeholder’s ability to find excuses to get out of work, and not do anything. May that be the relevant bureaucrats or the industry leaders? We as Indians only excel as long as we find ways to not do something.

Below I passed an excerpt of my basic introduction email for the research study. The challenges I face, and how can we as a collective of people make this happen? I would love each of your input no matter good or bad. The idea is to do better. I felt the need to give you the 100% context so I don’t find more people who come up with ignorance and say “why am I doing so”, or “where is the money?”. A young girl I met started a company that recovers bad debt legally, and these men exploited her by using her services for money recovery and didn’t end up paying for any of her invoices, which she rightfully deserved. So now you know everything about malpractices, ethics, and abuse. All features of the larger problem of the Indian mentality.

Another thing I have noticed is that the younger generation provides no value, but shamelessly uses words like “slow fashion”, “sustainable” and so on. While they think the words don’t mean much they do, and due to this greenwashing of terms, our reputation globally is tarnished, as we already are known to be unreliable fraudsters. I have seen people shipping their products to European countries using substandard dyes which are a health and safety concern, and during quality checks, the product is returned. But that ethics here impacts the whole community. They ship defective products to rural Indians scamming them, knowing it’s defective and that rural India isn’t empowered much so they can slyly get away from them. A whole generation of Indians are wearing clothes made of harmful dyes and no one is talking about it. The Surat textile industry’s latest scam is to sell viscose-based fabrics as pure natural fabrics. They changed the terms to mislead people. Overall The EU and the NA keep passing newer regulations in regard to sourcing with sweatshops, and unsustainable cloth. The Indian government, nor Indian industry bodies ever read where the world is headed, and how we can start changing our ways to a global direction. What has been done for the last 60 years is still prevalent today. If we don’t head now and walk in line with global demands and regulations, we will soon miss this ship to another forward-thinking society, and the legacy of Indian textiles will die. Yes, we even failed to lobby textile companies that moved out of China during ABC phase (Anything but China) during the pandemic. In fact, I saw Pakistan develop a whole jeans industry in Karachi and Bangladesh as the winners of that movement.

Need our collective input on how to make this happen. :slight_smile:

I believe India has the potential to become the world’s largest manufacturing hub for textiles, both man-made and technical. India precedes its own set of problems unique to the city of Surat. I come from the family of a textile business owner. I have first-hand witnessed the devastating loss of business in the past 4 years. We have enough ideas and data to see that the textile industry is shrinking every year and will continue to do so until we intervene, with multiple business owners going under and declaring bankruptcy, due to external factors that are outside their control.


Under the pressure of these external factors, we must take steps to improve our business processes, to keep up with the pace set by competing nations like Bangladesh & China. The textile industry of India employs the second largest number of people in rural India, after the agriculture sector, and our industry has thrived for the past hundreds of years only to come at a dead end caused by globalization and extreme competition fueled by technological advancements. It is not a surprise that 90% of stakeholders in the textile industry have no formal education, have no education about the subject matter of their occupation, may that be the general industrial/manufacturing engineering segment, or the very focused textile segment. We need to take steps to make the industry more resilient and adaptable for the future and save the maximum possible number of jobs while doing so. The gap between the manufacturing industry in India as compared to those in China is astounding. We still fail to implement simple mechanisms that will bridge this massive technological gap.

> The state of Indian SMEs in the aftermath of recent governmental policies and the pandemic has accelerated us to a critical point where we have observed thousands of small business closures (approximately 60%), with several more closing in real-time or surviving with a lifeline. The unplanned policymaking, and the lack of efforts to utilize our infrastructure or to boost productivity, incorporate technology, and leverage our true potential, are some of the factors that have brought us to a new ‘license raj’ system, where we will have a market of 1.5 billion Indians served by a few textile giants, who once again are very keen on exploiting the workforce. The ground reality is that there is no real awareness of challenging external conditions, and the government’s subsidies make theoretical sense but have hardly contributed to giving small businesses the opportunity or the atmosphere to thrive.

> I believe a subject-matter-led study is very necessary to optimize the state of the industrial supply chain in Southeast Asia. This industry hasn’t changed the state of its processes in 60 years. The same process is mirrored in other developing economies like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, etc.

> In terms of industrial engineering, there are several "wastes”, some of which include worker conditions, logistical problems, unplanned supply chains, and bad inventory management, things that have a great deal of potential to be eliminated. My goal through this is to advocate for the more vulnerable workers’ rights, especially in terms of occupational safety. Unknown to the rest of the world, a lot of workers in factories are verbally abused and physically assaulted on a daily basis. Every factory at least contributes to about 1 to 2 accidental labor deaths a year that could have been avoided. There are no strict measures or guidelines to follow, and if there are, they are rarely subject to enforcement by authorities. I am confident there are better ways to increase production that don’t involve severe existential risks to the workforce. Employers don’t know nor are bothered to understand how to optimize and make their processes more efficient. The cost of raw goods has increased by nearly 90% in the last 10 years, and to remain competitive, the industries, instead of cutting costs, have paid lower wages to their employees to remain competitive. Since unemployment is rampant, the employees suffer in silence with no alternative. I believe if we can create an impact here, we can save the second-largest employment sector from exploiting its workers.

> I believe it is important for the industry to unite and take a forward-thinking approach to how we can improve our operations, supply chain, and manufacturing, and reduce liabilities with Chinese machinery and fabrics. We don’t want to compete with the American and European industries, but in fact, outperform them.

**> Being a student, I approached and convinced my department to be the key strategic partner to lead this research. Sadly, for the past year, the research proposal hasn’t headed anywhere because we are unsure of how to operate in India. I would like to get your thoughts on what I can do differently to make this happen. I have a few documents crafted on some key areas where I would like to see the research get started. The unchecked pollution emitted from coal burning at dyeing mills is another concern. There is no watch over the environmental damage of our industrial activity. It may not even be surprising that Surat would make it to the list of the world’s top 20 most polluted cities by the next decade. Lesser defects in production would mean lesser waste, lower costs, and lesser break-even quantities in a way solve the over-production crisis we have here. A sum total should be positive for society, growth, and sustainability for our environment. **

> I have tried my level best to do something about this pressing matter, however, I am only being shown circles by people and it is becoming frustrating. This project would be game-changing for thousands of struggling businesses and would save millions of jobs. I am writing this to you with a great deal of hope of creating change. Any help/support from you will really go a long way in creating value for society. Your support can go a long way in making this happen.