In a strategic move to foster innovation and elevate India’s standing in the global technical textiles arena, the Ministry of Textiles has rolled out an initiative called the “Grant for Research and Entrepreneurship across Aspiring Innovators in Technical Textiles” (GREAT).
Under the umbrella of GREAT, startups and innovators in the technical textiles sector can now apply for grants of up to INR 50 lakh (approximately $60,000).
The initiative aligns with the government’s ambition to position India as a formidable force in technical textiles, distinctively manufactured for their utilitarian attributes rather than merely ornamental or decorative features.
Industries spanning automobiles, civil engineering, construction, and agriculture rely heavily on technical textiles due to their exceptional functional and performance properties.
Advancing Technical Textiles through Innovation and Funding
Rajeev Saxena, the joint secretary of the Ministry of Textiles, expressed the government’s commitment to propelling India to the forefront of technical textile innovation. Saxena reiterated that the grants would catalyze the translation of prototypes into tangible technologies and market-ready products.
To underscore its dedication to supporting startups, the Ministry has designated 10 percent of the total grant-in-aid to be allocated to incubators, incentivizing their pivotal role in nurturing emerging talent.
Furthermore, the Ministry has endorsed comprehensive funding of INR 151 crore to bolster 26 institutes nationwide. This funding will facilitate the modernization of laboratories and the introduction of courses specifically focused on technical textiles.
Esteemed institutions such as IIT Delhi, NIT Jalandhar, NIT Durgapur, NIT Karnataka, NIFT Mumbai, ICT Mumbai, Anna University, PSG College of Technology, and Amity University are among the recipients of this funding, signifying a concerted effort to elevate the education and research ecosystem in the technical textiles’ domain.
Strategic Thrust towards Technical Textiles Sector
The push for technical textiles gained additional impetus with the Indian government’s proactive approach in notifying two quality control orders (QCOs) for 31 technical textile products.
Scheduled to take effect from October 7, 2023, these QCOs encompass various products, including 19 geotextiles and 12 protective textiles. This move aligns with the broader mission of the National Technical Textile Mission, which seeks to foster domestic manufacturing prowess in technical textiles.
Piyush Goyal, the commerce minister, previously emphasized the necessity of nurturing startups within the technical textiles domain. Statista’s data underscores the burgeoning potential of the technical textile industry, with an approximate valuation of $22 billion in FY22 and a projected growth trajectory to reach $309 billion by 2047.
Empowering Innovators and Elevating Technical Textiles
The drive underpinning the GREAT program finds resonance in its emphasis on high-performance fibers and composites, sustainable and recyclable textile materials, and intelligent textiles interwoven with cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D/4D printing, and rapid prototyping.
These technological frontiers pave the way for applying technical textiles in diverse sectors, including agro, building, geotextiles, medical, and sports textiles.
Companies must not exceed a five-year operational span to be eligible for the grant. Additionally, to bolster the commitment of incubates towards their projects, the Ministry mandates a minimum investment of 10 percent of the granted funds in two equal installments.
Focusing on nurturing startups and fostering innovation, the country is poised to ascend the global value chain in technical textiles. As the industry thrives on cutting-edge research and development, India’s concerted efforts will weave a tapestry of success in technical textiles.
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