Cotton Textile Industry in India: History, Growth, Distribution, Problems and Solutions Essay

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Cotton Textile Industry in India: History, Growth, Distribution, Problems and Solutions

Cotton Textile Industry in India

Introduction: India is one of the important cotton-manufacturing countries of the world. Both short-staple and long-staple cotton is grown in the country.

Cotton textile industry is one of the important and largest industries in India. It accounts for a large portion of the total industrial output in the country each year.

This cotton textile industry is now in a position to meet the total demand for textiles in the home market and to leave a sufficient surplus for foreign export. The industry also contribute towards the total foreign income of our country and engage millions of people.

Production and Trade: India ranks among the largest producer and exporter of cotton textile products. India exports cotton textiles to the countries of Russia, U.K., Australia, Sri Lanka, Iran, Germany, Belgium, Italy, etc.

History, Growth and Development

The productions of cotton, hand spinning and weaving have been practiced in India from immemorial times. However, the factory production of cotton goods dates from the middle of the 19th century.

The cotton textile industry in Indian was initiated with the establishment of the first cotton textile factory at Ghusuri near Kolkata in 1818. However, it was closed down very soon due to the shortage of raw material. Actual development of the industry had been taking place since 1859 with the establishment of cotton mill at Mumbai which is located in the cotton growing region of Western India. Since then there has been rapid growth of the industry around Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

Industry has made rapid progress since 1880. The cotton mill industry made phenomenal progress during the period of 40 or 45 years since 1880. In the beginning, yarns spinning developed a great deal. There was an export trade in yarn with China. Now, however, both yarn and cloth are manufactured for home-consumption.

Raw materials

The cotton textile industry requires raw cotton as principal raw material and chemicals like caustic soda, dyes, arrowroot or starch, etc. for its production. The cotton growing regions are Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, etc.


There are three types of cotton mills:

  • Spinning mills,
  • Weaving mills and
  • Composite mills – thread and cloth, both are produced.

Spinning mills are of two types:

  1. Handloom and
  2. Power loom.


Cotton textile centers of India are distributed in four regions:

  • Western Region,
  • Southern Region,
  • Northern Region and
  • Eastern Region.

Western Region: Gujarat and Maharashtra are most advanced states of this region. Mumbai in Maharashtra and Ahmedabad in Gujarat are two principal centers of this region. Ahmedabad is known as the ‘Manchester of India’. The other centers include Nagpur, Pune, Sholapur, Jalgaon in Maharashtra and Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Bhavanagar, Rajkot in Gujarat.

Factors for the growth of the industry in this region are:

  1. Local raw cotton from Gujarat and Maharashtra.
  2. Availability of hydel power produced in Western Ghats,
  3. Port facilities of Mumbai and Kandla,
  4. Humid climate required for spinning of the yarn.
  5. Large capital invested by Parsi and Bhatia businessmen.
  6. Locally available cheap and skilled labor from Konkan, Satara, Sholapur etc.
  7. Good demand for cotton garments and
  8. Well-knit transport system.

Southern Region: In South India cotton mills are located in the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Important centers are Madurai, Salem, Tiruchirapalli Chennai, Guntur, Mysore, Pondicherry etc. Coimbatore is the largest cotton textile centre of this region.

The factors for the development of cotton textile industry in this region are:

  1. Supply of local raw cotton,
  2. Supply of hydel power,
  3. Good transportation network,
  4. Port facility through the ports of Kochi, Chennai, Tuticorin etc.
  5. Locally available cheap labor,
  6. Warm and humid climate and
  7. Dense population of the region.

Northern Region: The region includes the states of Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. The principal centers are Kanpur, Delhi, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Agra etc. The factors for the development of the industry in this region are:

  1. Long staple cotton produced here,
  2. High demand for cotton goods,
  3. Good transportation system and
  4. Plenty of cheap labor.

Eastern Region: This region includes the states of West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Assam. Maximum mills are located at Kolkata, Sodepur, Belgharia, Shyamnagar, Ghusuri, Salkia, Shrirampur, Maurigram etc. The factors for the growth of this industry are:

  1. Nearness to the Kolkata port,
  2. Good transportation system,
  3. Humid climate and
  4. High demand for cotton goods.


The problems of Cotton Textile Industry in India:

  • Long staple cotton is not well grown in many parts of India.
  • Many of the factories are old and, as such, productivity has been lowered. The plants and machinery employed in many of our textile mills are now out of date. They were put to intensive use and have considerably deteriorated.
  • High cost of advanced machinery is an unavoidable hindrance for the procurement of new machinery. For this reason, the much-needed replacement had to be deferred for many years.
  • The high cost of production is also effectively retarding the growth of this important industry.
  • There is competition from synthetic fibers like polyester, etc.
  • There is competition in the International Market from Bangladesh, Japan, China, and Britain, etc.
  • Great difficulties are  being experienced by mill-owners in obtaining the capital needed for modernization.


  • The plant and machinery have to be replaced at an early date. Introduction of the more up-to-date and modernized type of machinery is so urgent that it has to be done without the least delay in the interest of producers and consumers alike.
  • Easy loan facility should be extended to the industries intending to modernize their plant and machinery.
  • Assured availability of raw-materials, labour, and power would ensure steady supply.
  • Economies of large-scale production should be encouraged to keep down the prices of finished products.


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