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MARKET WATCH 11 SEP 2017

NATIONAL

INTERNATIONAL

Govt chalks out strategy to revamp textile sector

The textiles sector in the State is in for a thorough revamp. The 17 textile mills in the public and cooperative sectors would be revived and made self-reliant on the basis of a strategy worked out by an expert team. The government has accorded in-principle clearance for the strategy drawn up by an expert committee headed by P. Nandakumar and comprising among others M.P. Sukumaran Nair, Chairman, Public Sector Restructuring and Internal Audit Board.

A working group meeting held at the behest of Industries Minister A.C. Moideen and Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac has ironed out an action plan for mopping up resources for executing the strategy. It has been proposed to release the funds in instalments and bring the mills that provide direct employment to about 5,000 persons and indirect jobs to 15,000 back into action within 18 months.

Fund infusion

Mr. Nandakumar told The Hindu here that the sustainable development and modernisation strategy would bring about a remarkable change and help the State emerge as a major player in the sector. The committee had recommended a fund infusion of Rs. 494.81 crore, Rs. 317.89 crore for capital investment and Rs. 176.93 crore as working capital for putting the 17 mills in the State back on track. Though the panel had recommended a one-time fund infusion considering the fact that earlier release of Rs. 521.09 crore in different tranches during the past one decade had not yielded the desired results, the current resource crunch is reported to have prompted the government to stagger the investment, but in a meaningful manner. Though not in the pink of health, the mills continue earn an annual revenue of Rs. 100 crore, after making statutory payments to the exchequer.

Supply and demand mismatch, high cotton prices, low realisation from yarn sales, labour absenteeism due to uncertainty, mounting dues to raw material supplies and other commitments have been cited for the crisis. The committee had recommended retrospective conversion of loans into equity and waiver of accrued interest to improve the financial credit worthiness of the mills. It has proposed to slash the interest rate from 11.5% to 10.35%. It had proposed to bring the mills under government control and monitoring of RIAB and also constitution of centralised committees for purchase of capital goods and sales of used machinery and other things.

Source: The Hindu

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Spinners Asked to Reduce Yarn Production by 35% for 2 Months

Indian Texpreneurs Federation (ITF) on Saturday advised spinning mills to reduce yarn production by 35 percent for two months to reduce loss and also to bring balance in cotton and yarn prices.

In an advisory to the members, ITF said it was advisable to reduce the production with immediate effect for next 30 to 60 days and also try to avoid buying cotton at the prices to minimise the impact of financial loss, due to slowdown in exports and also in domestic market. Due to demand and supply imbalance, yarn prices were down and with current cotton and yarn prices, standalone spinning mills were facing severe losses due to disparity in prices, as many varieties of yarn were now selling much below the level of manufacturing cost, ITF secretary, Prabhu Dhamodharan said.

Being a big state and big player in textile manufacturing, Tamil Nadu mills consume more than 30 percent of cotton and similar level in synthetic fibres to produce various types of yarn,he said,adding that if there was a slowdown in production for the next 60 days, "automatically we can bring stability in yarn prices by way of reducing the supply to the yarn market". And by way of reducing cotton consumpition, cotton prices also will come down to a realistic level in the coming season, he pointed out. Since weaving, processing, apparel and home textiles were optimising utilisation levels based on demand and supply and order trends, the spinning sector, irrespective of market conditions, used to follow the model of running throughout the year and facing huge losses due to disparity in raw materials and selling prices of yarn, he said.

SOURCE: The Press Trust of India

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4 pc higher cotton production this season

India's cotton production for the 2016-17 season ending this month has been estimated at 345 lakh bales, four per cent higher than the previous season production of 332 lakh bales. Production for this season has been estimated at 23.19 million tonnes, 10 per cent higher than the previous season's 21.07 million tonnes due to increased production in all major cotton growing countries, B Lakshminarayana, chairman of Southern India Mills Asociation Cotton Development and Research Association said here.

Though worldwide cotton consumption has been estimated at 24.74 million tonnes, two per cent higher than the previous season's 24.22 million tonnes, India's consumption (including non-mill consumption) has been calculated at 312 lakh bales, marginally lower than previous season's 315 lakh bales,he said in his address to SIMA's 42nd Annual General Meeting here yesterday.

Stating that global exports are estimated at 8.1 million tonnes, higher than previous season's figure of 7.7 million tonnes, he said exports during the season had come down to 60 lakh bales from the previous season's 69 lakh bales. As far as the cotton season 2017-18 is concerned, global production and consumption has been estimated to be marginally higher than previous season, at 25.54 and 25.56 million tonnes respectively, an association release said today. Global cotton trade is expected to be at the previous season level of about 8 million tonnes, Lakshminarayana said.

Global stocks at the season end have been estimated at 19.62 million tonnes, marginally higher than previous season ending stock of 19.59 million tonnes. The Minimum Support Price of fair average quality kapas of medium staple and ong staple was increased by Rs 50 for 2016-17 season and MSP of medium staple and long staple was Rs 3,860 and Rs 4,160 per quintal respectively. There was a recommendation to increase MSP by Rs 160 for 2017-18 season and accordingly, MSP for the season for medium staple and long staple would be Rs 4,020 and Rs 4,320 respectively, Lakshminarayana said.

As the 2015-16 season (Oct-Sept) average of Shankar-6 stood at Rs 36,978 per candy, 12 per cent higher than previous season average of Rs 33,159 per candy, prices increased in the 2016-17 season. The average during October to August worked out to Rs 41,680 per candy, higher by 13 per cent, he said. With comfortable cotton supply in the domestic and international markets, the prices are anticipated to ease in the coming months, he said.

SOURCE: The Press Trust of India

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‘Skilled workers, FTAs need of the hour for textile industry’

More skilled workers, free trade agreement with European Union and promotion of research were some of the leading demands raised at the 11th CEO conference by South Indian Mills Association (SIMA) held at Le Meridien hotel here on Saturday. "The textile industry requires skilled workers not subsidies," said executive director of Ernst & Young LLP V S Krishnan. "To improve the textile industry, we need to negotiate with European Union for free trade agreement (FTA), modernise the processing segment, improve the quality of cotton and promote research. We should seek government help to set up skill development centres as they are the need of the hour," he said.

Expressing a similar view, SIMA chairman M Senthil Kumar said, "The duty-free access and preferential trade agreements extended to our competing nations have adversely affected our export growth. Until we conclude FTAs, especially the one with EU, we need some protection and competitive edge by continuing all the export benefits extended during the pre-GST era to sustain the present market share." Goods and Services Tax (GST) has been the talk of the town and the CEO conference was no different. Training sessions were held on GST and techno facts awards were given away to 10 companies. "GST will reduce logistics cost and industries should interact directly with the government through the GST council on reform regarding issues like reduction of rate structures and duties," said Krishnan.

Senthil Kumar said a few key issues should be sorted out to create a level playing field in the globalised environment. "We could revamp the commercial trading terms and conditions of Cotton Corporation of India (CCI). CCI is prepared to store the buffer stock in all the major clusters and supply it to the mills based on the commitment given by the individual mills," he said Meanwhile, new office bearers were inducted into SIMA. Managing director of K P R Mill Limited P Nataraj has been elected the chairman of SIMA and K Vinayakam, managing director of SCM Textile Spinners has been elected the deputy chairman. Ashwin Chandran, chairman and managing director of Precot Meridien Limited, has been named the vice-chairman of SIMA.

SOURCE: The Times of India

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Congress to raise textile traders' concerns in GST Council meeting

New Delhi, The Congress on Friday said it will raise the issue of small manufacturers and traders in the textile sector at the GST Council meeting on Saturday and added that they are the hardest hit by "distorted duty structure of GST". The party said it was committed to raise the issue of livelihood, employment, trade and business of small traders in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council meeting being held in Hyderabad.

Apart from Gujarat, an "insurmountable loss of jobs" had happened in Bhiwandi and Malegaon (Maharashtra), Ludhiana (Punjab), Tirupur (Tamil Nadu) and other centres, the party said. It also said the government must consider to provide appropriate relief to the textile traders, and that the exemption limits for traders must be raised from the existing Rs 20 lakh to Rs 1 crore and for manufacturers from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 2 crore. "The Central government has claimed a total GST collection of close to Rs 92,000 crore for the month of July 2017. These collections camouflage nearly Rs 30,000 crore to Rs 40,000 crore of likely taxes that were available as transitional credits, but could not be taken because of the glitches in GST Network and confusion created by the government. "Net of these credits tax collections would be far less, creating serious doubts both about the GDP growth as well as tax numbers," said Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, adding there was shortfall of almost Rs 800 crore in the revenue of Punjab. The textile industry was the worst-affected sector, he said. "Micro and small manufacturers, traders, cloth merchants and shopkeepers in the textile sector, which is the second biggest job generator after agriculture, are the hardest hit by the distorted duty structure of GST," Badal said. "It hit millions of small powerlooms as the GST tax structure has been designed only to help integrated plants in this sector. Similar is the fate of cloth merchants, traders and shopkeepers," he added.

The Congress said the strike in the textile sector had already caused an estimated loss of nearly Rs 40,000 crore across the country and a loss of nearly 15 lakh jobs. Some 12 crore people are engaged in the textile sector. "Manmade fibres are nearly 60 per cent of Indian fibre demand. Manmade fibre and yarn, dyeing and printing units and embroidery are being taxed at 18 per cent, while rate on the end product, i.e. fabric, is only five per cent," Badal noted. "This is proving to be a deathknell for the small and micro non-integrated textile players, while helping only the biggest fish to sustain," said Badal. Karnataka Minister Krishna Byre Gowda raised the issue of taxpayers not being able to file their returns every month because of the glitches in the online portals. "Many people are unable to file their returns. They are having lots of difficulty. So, there is latent tax revenue which could have come but has not come on account of GSTN and preparedness issues," he added.

SOURCE: ET Retail

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Revisiting demonetisation: Ten months later, Ludhiana's garment hub faces another season of losses

Ten months after the government demonetised 86% of India’s currency, there is clear evidence showing the move came with few benefits and severe costs. On August 30, the Reserve Bank of India released a report which said 99% of the currency notes invalidated on November 8 had returned to the banks, defeating the government’s stated aim of eliminating black money reserves. Data for the first quarter of 2017 showed a continuing slowdown in economic growth, which analysts partly attributed to the lingering effects of demonetisation. Last week, in his newly released book, Raghuram Rajan, who was the RBI governor until September 2016, revealed that the government had not consulted the bank about the move during his term. But, outside the narrow circles where the evidence circulates, what do the poor who were most affected by demonetisation think about it? Have businesses recovered and jobs returned? Do people continue to support the government’s move? revisited some of the places that it had covered in the aftermath of demonetisation. The first report in the series is from the garment factories of Ludhiana, Punjab.

Ten months after demonetisation, the most conspicuous change in some of Ludhiana’s garment factories is the absence of women workers from the shop floor. Factory owners said the sector had barely recovered from the shock of demonetisation when chaos struck in July in the form of the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax. Buyers scaled down their orders from smaller units that were not registered on the GST network, while simultaneously cutting back on delivery timelines because demand had turned erratic. Under pressure to work faster, some of the factories decided to employ more men.

Small-scale enterprises in the garment sector usually prefer women workers because of the lower wage rate – women are paid at least 20 to 30% less than men for the same hours of work. But male workers produce more pieces an hour. “This is why you see only men working now,” said Om Prakash, a supervisor at a medium sized garment unit. The unit had to forego a part of its profit margin to pay higher wages to men, but completing orders on time during a business lull was considered a priority.

In November, days after the government announced its decision to invalidate high-value currency notes, Scroll.in had visited this unit, one of the four units owned by Vinod Thapar, president of the knitwear club in Ludhiana. Its shop floor, which had about 150 workers in November, was dominated by women. Today, less than 70 workers, all men, were peddling away on the sewing machines.

Across the garment hub, women formed a large chunk of the estimated 3,50,000-strong workforce employed by over 11,000 units. In November, the women workers, many of whom were from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, were preparing to leave the city. Demonetisation had caused a financial shock to the garment sector. The cash crunch had shrunk the purchasing power of customers in the retail market. As orders began to dry, the factories started to scale down. Eventually, unable to pay salaries to workers, many units shut down production and asked the workers to leave.

For Samreet Kaur, this was a big setback. “It is only in this season that we could work more and save,” she said. But she expressed support for demonetisation. “Modi has done good. The rich too are standing in the queue with us outside banks.” In April, when the cash supply stabilised, some of women returned to work, said Prakash, the supervisor. But with GST causing a dip in production again, they were the first to feel the brunt.

Now, the shop floor of the factory is abuzz – even though it is producing just 30% of its earlier capacity. But women workers are no longer around. Among the male workers, the support for demonetisation is largely intact. Few have heard that 99% of the demonetised currency had returned to the banks – as announced by the Reserve Bank of India on August 30 – which arguably defeated the government’s stated aim of eliminating reserves of black money.

Many workers across the factories continue to believe Prime Minister Narendra Modi demonetised the high-value currency notes with the country’s best interests in mind. “He has promised to get back all the black money. Let’s wait and see,” said Jagdish Kumar, a worker in the cloth-cutting section of a garment unit.

The first setback: demonetisation

Demonetisation could not have been timed worse for Ludhiana’s garment sector. November is the peak wedding season. The industry makes a large part of its revenues and profits by producing the flamboyant clothes and decorations that are the hallmark of Punjabi weddings. November is also when purchases of winter clothing picks up – Ludhiana produces about 80% of India’s machine-made woolen hosiery, according to several trade associations. Both wedding and winter purchases were crippled by demonetisation.

Within days of the announcement of demonetisation, Sohail Akram’s embroidery business, which employs over 40,000 workers, had come to a complete standstill. “Our orders dried up,” he recalled. It took close to five months for the business, which conducts most of its transactions in cash, to get back to shape. Akram said he had to borrow heavily to keep the family going. The owners of factories producing woollen garments narrate similar tales. Vinod Thapar said the winter season of 2016 was completely wiped out due to demonetisation. “Close to 60% of our business is in woolen garments. We literally bled till February,” he said. In 2016-’17, his turnover was down by over 30%. “At the peak of the crisis, my unit was producing not more than 400 pieces of clothing a day, down from 3,000 pieces I used to do usually in winter,” he said.

But just when things started to look better came another severe blow. “After they introduced Goods and Services Tax in June, we are back to how we were in December,” Akram said.

The new taxation policy rattled the market, with retailers and wholesalers suspending orders as they tried to sort out their GST troubles.

The second setback: GST

The Union government introduced the Good and Services Tax regime on July 1, which came with its own complexities. After GST was launched, garment manufacturers said they had to seek innumerable clarifications from the authorities. Did GST apply to old stock already in their possession? Could they claim input credit on such stock? Input credit is the refund that a business can obtain by subtracting the tax already paid on inputs from the tax payable on the final output. The government eventually gave businesses a 90-day window to claim the input credit on old stock.

But the bigger problem for retailers and wholesalers who had registered on the GST network was that many of the small scale units from where they sourced material were yet to do so. This posed a major taxation problem. Buying from those without a GST account would mean additional tax burden on the buyer as input credit refund would not be available – a risk which many were not willing to take. Most retailers and wholesalers dealing with smaller units stopped buying from them and shifted to bigger suppliers. The transition period saw a dip in production.

Sanjay Gupta, a garment unit manager, said even well into August, his factory was running at 40% capacity as his buyers, both retailers and wholesalers, had not registered for GST. For the smaller units, the difficulties of registering on the GST network could lead to the wipeout of another wedding season. In the famed artisan market of Sonet, most of the 200 shops specialise in embroidery. Many have not registered for the new tax regime. Primarily Muslims from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, many of the owners have very little knowledge about taxation and are technologically challenged. “I cannot use a computer. Whatever they [large units] are telling me is beyond my understanding,” said Shamim Khan, who has been running an embroidery shop in BRS Nagar near Sonet for 15 years. Getting on to the GST network would mean additional expenses as the business would be required to maintain proper accounts.

Since the small units haven’t registered for the GST, the large players have stopped procuring from them. “There are absolutely no orders at the moment,” said Khan. Showing his accounts book, Khan said in September 2016, he had employed as many as eight workers in his shop as retail orders were overflowing. On Monday, he had a lone worker finishing up the embroidery on a kameez. “It is as though people have stopped getting married,” he quipped with a straight face.

Next to Khan’s shop was an outlet that sells everything necessary for embroidery – from needles and glue to glittering beads of different kinds. Its owner Ishaq said he hadn’t ordered new stock for a month. “Even fevicol is not selling,” he said.

Despite the hardship, support for Modi for workers, life has been turned upside down. In 2016, with Punjab going into Assembly elections, the Akali Dal government had ensured steady electricity supply to the industrial area. Manufacturers raised their production levels, which meant more working hours and higher incomes for workers. But demonetisation led to a crash. Many lost jobs altogether, while for others, the working days in a month came down to just 10 or 12.

Papu Kumar, who specialises in garment stitching, said a full month of work would fetch him between Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000, depending on the nature of the clothes stitched. Workers in the garment factories are paid on a shift basis, with one shift amounting to eight hours of work. But after demonetisation, Kumar’s income halved. Once GST was implemented in July, the quantum of work further reduced. “This factory used to do 2,000 pieces a day last year in the same month. Now, we are not even doing 450 pieces,” he said.

However, despite the hardships faced in the wake of demonetisation and GST, workers in many parts of Ludhiana felt the government’s decisions were well intended. In December, 37-year-old Mukesh Kumar had to send back his wife and two daughters to their native village near Patna, as his dwindled income was no longer able to cover the family’s cost of living in Ludhiana. Even though his family was hit financially, Kumar, who works in the cloth cutting department of a garment unit, believes the effect of demonetisation was “felt more among the rich and the affluent”. “Bade log bhi mere saath line me kade the,” he said. Even the rich stood along with me outside ATMs.

Jagadish Kumar, a Dalit worker from Gurdaspur in Punjab, claimed that one cannot expect immediate results from such policy decisions. He said Modi should be given more time. Though he voted for the Congress in the state assembly elections held in March, Kumar said his decision was based more on local factors in Punjab. The Akali Dal-BJP alliance had become corrupt and he wanted a change. “I thought of voting for the Aam Aadmi Party. But everyone said Congress was a better choice as Amarinder Singh is a true Punjabi,” Kumar explained. Asked about the recent RBI report that said 99% of all demonetised money had come back into the banking system, Jagadish said he was not aware of such technicalities. “Modi is a religious man,” he said. “He does not eat meat. We trust he will keep up his word.”

SOURCE: The Scroll

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The Switch To Recovery

Nine months into 2017, the wait for economic recovery continues. The current slowdown, with the GDP dipping to 5.7 per cent in the first quarter of fiscal year 2017-18, the lowest in three years, may have been exacerbated by demonetisation as well as teething problems attributed to the Goods and Services Tax (GST), but the economy had been slowing down well before these policy decisions were put into effect. This was partly due to external as well as internal factors, including the impact of two years of drought in many parts of the country.

This monsoon, large parts of the country have seen heavy rainfall, resulting in severe floods that are expected to impact farm production, particularly foodgrains. With the government holding adequate stocks, food supplies are not a major concern. At this juncture, the slide in manufacturing growth from double digit in 2015-16 to the negative in the April-June quarter this year is particularly worrying as it has a direct bearing on job creation. This is of increasing priority, given the job losses in the informal sector post demonetisation even as the pool of youngsters seeking jobs expands rapidly.

Prof N.R. Bhanumurthy of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy is optimistic that the worst is over. “In the first quarter, the impact of GST has bottomed out. We should expect recovery now, but whether it is a sharp recovery or a moderate one, we will have to wait and see,” he says. With the costs of GST implementation and ambiguities surrounding it in terms of taxes and demand behind us, the manufacturing sector should recover. The bickering over the taxes may continue, but at least there is clarity on the overall cost of implementation.

“Now that the MSMEs (medium, small and micro enterprises) know the cost of implementation, they would be better prepared. Once they start getting their refunds, the working capital issues would be resolved,” says Bhanumurthy, clarifying that not just the MSMEs, but also those in the services sector have to pay for the input costs and later seek refund. “The cost to business may have increased in many cases as there may not have been any tax implications earlier. Obviously, those who were not paying any taxes earlier will say their costs have gone up. Also, we assume those who were paying tax were not evading any, which may not have been the case. But now under-reporting may not be possible.”

Jajit Bhattacharya, partner (strategy and operations) at KPMG India, is hopeful that the Q3—a festive quarter that typically sees an increase in consumption (electrical appliances, jewellery, textiles etc)—will see growth returning as the disruptive impact of demonetisation as well as the GST switchover would also have waned. The slide in manufacturing growth to the negative during the April-June quarter has a direct bearing on job creation.

Former chief statistician of India Dr Pronab Sen, however, feels that the impact of demonetisation and GST will take time to play itself out—maybe another two to three quarters. Another factor working against the manufacturing sector, according to Sen, is the rupee appreciation and the exchange rate. “The factors that are holding back growth—demonetisation, GST and rupee appreciation—will be around for a couple of quarters more at least. In manufacturing, it is a demand story, which continues to be weak. On the other hand, because of the rupee rise, imports, particularly in consumer goods, have gone up tremendously and the manufacturing sector is facing the consequences,” he says.

In India, the supply side is not the problem, unlike the demand side, which is why private sector investment in new projects or even capacity expansion is not picking up. Many economists share Sen’s views that the negative impact of demonetisation and GST will not wear out fast unless the government steps up public sector investments, particularly in the agriculture sector and rural infrastructure, and private investment picks up.

“Investment spending and consumption spending are areas of concern,” says Shashanka Bhide, director of the Madras Institute of Development Studies. “The silver lining is that policies are in place to boost growth, but a good deal of uncertainty remains due to external and internal factors, so I don’t expect immediate pickup in the short term. It will take more time for policies like GST to have significant affect.”

The large MSME sector, in particular, has been hard hit in the past few years. Demonetisation together with the GST has further worsened the situation as “eight months post demonetisation, 20 per cent of the AIMO members have shut operations, while there has been 30 per cent rise in NPAs from the MSME sector,” says K.E. Raghunathan, national president of the All India Manufacturers Organisation (AIMO). “The trade condition is such that most companies are not in a position to plan ahead.” AIMO fears the government proposal to make the fiscal year coincide with the calendar year will result in another chaos. “We have not seen the end of changes. Are we expected to run the industry or learn new ways of operating business?” wonders Raghunathan.

Anil Bhardwaj of the Federation of Indian Micro & Small and Medium Enterprises (FISME) says the outlook for the immediate future is “not optimistic. It is too early to speak about the mid or long term.” Bhardwaj stresses the need for transparency in the central government public procurement norms to help MSMEs. He also feels financial sector reforms to ease the stress on banks would help boost lending to industry.

Alongside the industry and trade bodies, the large farmers’ community too is reeling from adverse weather shocks and demonetisation. Compounding their woes are the falling prices. “If farmers’ protests went out of hand, they had a good reason to,” says Anil Adhikari, former head of agriculture commodities at Comtrade. For instance, wholesale inflation moderated sharply to 2.2 per cent year-on-year in May, compared to 3.9 per cent in March. This was significantly below expectations. Retail inflation fell to 2.2 per cent from a year ago in May 2017, a record low, as food prices—at -1.0 per cent—turned negative for the first time since 2001. Vegetables and pulses remained deflated at -13.4 per cent and -19.5 per cent. The negative price trend—prices dipping—continued.

“Remonetisation boosted growth in the cash-intensive services sectors, but this was offset by slower agriculture growth and a sharp slowdown in manufacturing gross-value added growth caused by production cuts ahead of the GST and lower profitability,” says Sonal Varma, economist with Nomura. Agricultural growth in real terms—that is farm GDP minus inflation—has slowed to 2.3 per cent from 5.2 per cent. “Despite real growth of 2.3 per cent, nominal agricultural growth was only 0.3 per cent, suggesting that while agricultural output grew, their prices fell,” says Dharmakirti Joshi, chief economist at Crisil.

The distress in agriculture caused by a fall in prices is more structural and not broad-based either across crops or states. For instance, prices of wheat and Bengal gram (chana) is steady, unlike green gram (moong), which has seen 30 per cent dip in prices. “This year’s near-average monsoon should help agricultural growth rebound,” says Joshi. As of August-end, total summer sowing was 3.3 per cent higher than last year and 5 per cent higher than the long-term normal levels. The impact of floods in several areas, however, has to be factored in.

In the short term, there are expectations of a pickup in sectors such as food and food products, textiles and intermediate construction raw materials, even as auto parts, machine parts and tools, among others, continue to struggle for growth. The growth expectation for 2017-18 so far remains pegged between 6.5 to 7 per cent.

SOURCE: The Outlook

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Finally, exporters hope for solution to GST trouble

There is finally some respite for lakhs of exporters who have been complaining about GST eating into their margins and impacting shipments already grappling with poor infrastructure and an appreciating rupee.

With a committee of officers, headed by revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia, formed to identify embedded taxes in exports and to look at ways to exclude or refund them, the commerce department seems to have at least convinced the GST Council to address the concerns. While Nirmala Sitharaman had flagged the concerns in June itself, it is only now that the issues have been noted. Soon after taking charge, commerce & industry minister Suresh Prabhu too had flagged the GST-related concerns as a priority.

Exporters are ready with their list of complaints, the biggest worry being the higher-interest burden due to the new system where taxes have to be paid instead of a waiver.This could result in over Rs 1.5 lakh crore getting stuck with the government, which will be refunded later. While the revenue department suggested a formula, requiring a budget allocation for the amount, it was rejected by the commerce de partment. In addition, exportoriented units and those covered by advance authorisation schemes now have to pay integrated GST on imported inputs but can take input tax credit (ITC) only after sale to the domestic tariff area or export, claim refund of any of the unutilised credit.

Merchant exporters too are complaining as purchases from manufacturers are treated as domestic sales under GST on which the applicable levy has to be paid. This eats into their thin margin, estimated at 3-5%, as the revenue department has rejected demands to continue with the bond-based mechanism, used at the time of sale to merchant exporters.

SOURCE: The Times of India

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GST Council may chart strategy for stable GSTN

The GST Council will meet here on Saturday for its 21st meeting, which is expected to finalise a string of issues, including the extent of increase and the vehicle segments facing higher cess. State finance ministers are expected to raise the issue of technical glitches affecting the GSTN. The network, which had coped well with the pressure of registrations, has come under severe pressure during the filing of returns and taxes. The GST implementation committee has extended the dates for filing of returns under various categories.

State officials said problem of accessing GSTN is acute in several centres and the Council is expected to find a way to address the problem of trade and industry. The council is also expected to discuss the issue of exempting khadi clothing and khadi fabrics from GST. The other products which could be exempted are clay idols, havan samagri (materials used for worship) and others. There has been demands from various sections to exempt khadi from the purview of GST. Sources said Khadi is most likely to be exempted. "The GST Council will have to come out with a clear plan on how how some of the technology related issues being faced by the taxpayers are addressed on an ongoing basis," said M S Mani, senior director at Deloitte.

SOURCE: The Times of India

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Budget prep kicks off next week

Work on India's first post-GST Union Budget 2018-19 will start next week with the finance ministry issuing timelines for different processes that will culminate with its presentation in February. It may also be the current government's last fullfledged Budget as general elections are due in 2019. Even though independent India's biggest tax reform of GST was implemented from July 1, the Budget for 2017-18 (AprilMarch), had followed the practice of tax revenue projections under the heads of customs duty , central excise and service tax alongside direct tax numbers. With excise duty and service tax being subsumed in the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the classifications will undergo change, an official said.

SOURCE: The Times of India

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Fiscal position of Centre worsened during Q1: RBI

The fiscal position of the Central government has “deteriorated” in the first quarter of the current financial year, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said. “As per the latest information available, the fiscal position of the Central government in terms of key deficit indicators deteriorated during the first quarter of 2017-18 (April-June) as compared to the corresponding quarter of the previous year,” the RBI said. “Revenue deficit and gross fiscal deficit (GFD), both in absolute terms as well as per cent of BE, were higher than those in the corresponding quarter of the previous year,” the RBI said in the latest Annual Report. “Deterioration in fiscal position was the outcome of lower growth in revenue and higher growth in expenditure, it said.

On the receipts side, growth in tax revenue decelerated sharply on account of a slowdown in all major taxes (income tax collections, customs duties, excise duty and service tax), except corporation tax, the RBI said. Total expenditure at 30.3 per cent of BE (Budget Estimate) was higher than 25.9 per cent in the corresponding quarter of the previous year due to higher revenue expenditure and a sharp turnaround in the capital account — in conformity with the government’s intention of front-loading expenditure before the onset of monsoon. The pickup in capital expenditure augurs well for improvement in expenditure quality, according to the RBI. “Available information pertaining to 26 state governments indicates a deterioration in GFD, revenue and primary deficits in 2016-17 (Revised Estimate) vis-à-vis the Budget Estimate,” it said. The revenue account worsened because of shortfall in revenues and expenditure overshooting. Compared with the actuals of the previous year, the consolidated GFD rose 0.4 percentage point to 2.9 per cent of GDP in 2016-17.

The GFD-GDP ratio of states is budgeted to improve to 2.3 per cent during 2017-18 (from 2.9 per cent in the RE for 2016-17), largely on the back of a projected rise in tax revenue — both own tax revenue as well as tax devolution – and moderation in revenue expenditure, it said. The revenue account is also expected to post a surplus during the year, it said.

States have, however, a weak track record of fiscal marksmanship. Moreover, several risk factors such as implementation of their own pay commission recommendations and farm loan waivers may impact state finances in the near term, the RBI said. “The flexibility for additional borrowings given by the 14th Finance Commission may encourage states to take greater recourse to market borrowings which, in turn, could exert pressure on yields, thereby raising the cost of borrowings,” the RBI said. On the revenue side, the transition to GST may temporarily impact tax receipts, although the proposed compensation clause from the Centre may provide some headroom. “Loan waivers could add to the fiscal burden over the medium term, as they are essentially a transfer from taxpayers to borrowers. As per initial estimates, the total loan waivers announced during 2017-18 (up to August 2, 2017) amount around 0.4 per cent of GDP,” it said. Depending on possible cutback under other expenditure heads, this may result in a rise in consolidated GFD-GDP ratio of states by about 20-40 bps.

SOURCE: The Indian Express

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Free fall in GDP numbers structural, not transient: SBI Report

India’s GDP growth was expected to decline in the first quarter of the current fiscal, but the “free fall” in the numbers shows that the problem is more structural than transient, says a report.  India’s economic growth slipped to a three-year low of 5.7 per cent in April-June, underscoring the disruptions caused by uncertainty related to the GST rollout amid slowdown in manufacturing activities. According to the report, the negative impact of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on growth has been “majorly emphasised”. “Though there has been a lot of talk about manufacturing destocking ahead of GST and its impact on GDP, a significant destocking in both consumer, as well as investment intensive sectors, was already taking pace in 2016-17,” said SBI’s research report Ecowrap.  With fiscal deficit touching 92.4 per cent of the budget estimate by the end of July, the government may cut expenditure to meet the 3.2 per cent target, the report stated.

In absolute terms, fiscal deficit — the difference between expenditure and revenue — was Rs 5.04 trillion of budget estimate till July, against 73.7 per cent in the same period last fiscal.  The report, however, was quick to point out that with the uncertainties involving GST and monetary policy support to growth not forthcoming, it will not be prudent on the part of government to reduce spending as other growth drivers are missing.  There is no harm if the government spends the proceeds arising out of better GST collection to push capex rather than shore up revenue numbers, it suggested. The report, which analysed data of 1,695 listed firms, noted that there is significant destocking in both consumer and investment intensive sectors in 2016-17, implying that “there was general slowdown amidst which companies have been running down the existing inventory”.

Investment intensive sectors, it said, were more affected by the general slowdown and uncertain environment in 2016-17 while consumer intensive sectors have been more affected by demonetisation. Further analysis of a sample of 2,306 listed companies whose results are out for the first quarter of this fiscal showed that 40 out of 69 sectors have shown quarter-on-quarter decline in sales and this is much lower than the 2016-17 growth rates, it said. Important sectors in manufacturing like capital goods, consumer and engineering goods have performed dismally and this is a cause for concern, it added. “Combining all the above factors, rebound in GDP growth is unlikely in coming quarters. It is only by the first quarter of the next fiscal that growth can witness an uptick provided asset resolution takes place by then,” the report noted.

SOURCE: The Financial Express

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Global Textile Raw Material Price 2017-09-10

Item

Price

Unit

Fluctuation

Date

PSF

1323.02

USD/Ton

0%

9/10/2017

VSF

2469.13

USD/Ton

0%

9/10/2017

ASF

2399.90

USD/Ton

0%

9/10/2017

Polyester POY

1338.41

USD/Ton

0%

9/10/2017

Nylon FDY

3153.72

USD/Ton

0%

9/10/2017

40D Spandex

5538.24

USD/Ton

0%

9/10/2017

Polyester DTY

3276.79

USD/Ton

0%

9/10/2017

Nylon POY

5815.15

USD/Ton

0%

9/10/2017

Acrylic Top 3D

1553.78

USD/Ton

0%

9/10/2017

Polyester FDY

2861.42

USD/Ton

0%

9/10/2017

Nylon DTY

2553.74

USD/Ton

0%

9/10/2017

Viscose Long Filament

1692.24

USD/Ton

0%

9/10/2017

30S Spun Rayon Yarn

3076.80

USD/Ton

0%

9/10/2017

32S Polyester Yarn

1969.15

USD/Ton

1%

9/10/2017

45S T/C Yarn

2861.42

USD/Ton

0%

9/10/2017

40S Rayon Yarn

1984.54

USD/Ton

0%

9/10/2017

T/R Yarn 65/35 32S

2384.52

USD/Ton

0%

9/10/2017

45S Polyester Yarn

3246.02

USD/Ton

0%

9/10/2017

T/C Yarn 65/35 32S

2399.90

USD/Ton

0%

9/10/2017

10S Denim Fabric

1.43

USD/Meter

0%

9/10/2017

32S Twill Fabric

0.88

USD/Meter

0%

9/10/2017

40S Combed Poplin

1.23

USD/Meter

0%

9/10/2017

30S Rayon Fabric

0.69

USD/Meter

0%

9/10/2017

45S T/C Fabric

0.72

USD/Meter

0%

9/10/2017

Source: Global Textiles

Note: The above prices are Chinese Price (1 CNY = 0.15384 USD dtd. 9/10/2017). The prices given above are as quoted from Global Textiles.com.  SRTEPC is not responsible for the correctness of the same.

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Pakistan: ECC to accord approval for new package for textile sector

Commerce Minister, Mohammad Pervaiz Malik Saturday said the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) would accord approval for a new package for the country’s textile sector for its revival in real sense.

 

Talking to media after inaugurating the three-day ‘Machinery Expo’, which was jointly organized by the Pak China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Ecommerce Gateway with the extensive support from the Lin Yi Trade City China, here at Expo Centre on Saturday, Malik maintained that textile sector and its promotion is one of the priorities of the government. “We are trying our best to play the role of facilitators for textile and industrial sector in real sense,” he said.

The minister further said that China is extending cooperating to Pakistan in every field and as many as 150 Chinese companies are taking part in this EXPO. The setting up of industries is also part of the CPEC and this Expo is part of this endevour, he added. Malik further said that there will be no negative impact of hike in gas tariff on industry.

 

Earlier, in his address at the Expo, Malik welcomed the Chinese friends in China electrical and Mechanical Machinery expo. “I extend heartiest felicitations to all my Chinese brothers for making this expo an advantageous activity both for Pakistan and China,” he said.  He congratulated Wang Zihai and Dr. Khursheed Nizam for arranging this trade fair that would serve as a convention for entrepreneurs and investors from Pakistan and China to identify new investment opportunities in different manufacturing and services sectors.

 

Over 10,000 people including Chinese and Pakistani top level machinery manufacturers, businessmen, entrepreneurs and investors participated on the first day of China Electrical and Mechanical Machinery Expo 2017. As many as 100 stalls were set up by the distinguished Chinese manufacturing companies and around 200 Chinese businessmen from the machinery industry joined this expo. Pervaiz Malik along with Consul General of China, Long Ding bin inaugurated the three-day-long machinery expo.

 

The minister visited the stalls. Consul General of China, Long Ding bin Long Ding bin told media that this Expo is not merely an exhibition but a direct interaction in which Pakistani companies’ particularly young entrepreneurs would get a golden opportunity to meet with the Chinese success leaders in machinery industry. Pakistan is geographically attached to China, thus, by taking advantage of China’s modern technology and experiences, we may strengthen Pakistan’s economy, he added.

SOURCE: The Pakistan Observer

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Bangladesh August exports up 10.7 pct y/y, lifted by garment sales

Bangladesh's exports in August rose 10.7 percent from a year earlier to $3.6 billion, driven by stronger garment sales, official data showed on Sunday. Garments are a key foreign-exchange earner for the South Asian nation, whose low wages and duty-free access to Western markets have helped make it the world's second-largest apparel exporter after China. Exports for July and August, the first two months of the country's 2017/2018 financial year, rose 13.8 percent from a year earlier to $6.6 billion, the Export Promotion Bureau said. Sales of garments, comprising knitwear and woven items, totalled $5.5 billion in July and August, up 14 percent from a year earlier. The garment industry, which supplies many Western brands, came under scrutiny after a string of fatal factory accidents, including a 2013 building collapse that killed more than 1,130 people. The government has set an export target of $37.5 billion for the 2017-18 financial year, with ready-made garments earning $30.16 billion.

Exports in the previous financial year that ended in June rose 1.7 percent from a year earlier to $34.7 billion, but that was the slowest growth in 15 years, with garment sales up just 0.2 percent growth. Exporters blamed the lacklustre growth for the previous financial year on a number of factors, including sluggish demand in key markets, structural reforms in the garment sector, a weak euro and appreciation of the local currency against the U.S. dollar. In July, Bangladesh's central bank left key interest rates unchanged, saying it was trying to balance economic growth and inflation risks.

SOURCE: The Reuters

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Chinese firm to set up textile factory in Rwanda

Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Huajian Group, a Chinese business and investment company specialising in shoe manufacturing. Huajian Group is owned by Zhang Huarong and it mainly specialises in production of high- and middle-end women’s shoes with three production bases, including one in Ethiopia. Yesterday’s agreement is part of the company’s expansion plans in East Africa. “Zhang Huarong has invested in Ethiopia and now produce shoes worth over $30 million. His success has shown him that Africa is a place where you can make high quality exports for products consumed by markets like in the US,” said Clare Akamanzi, the RDB chief executive. “He has done his homework and has seen that Rwanda is one of the most attractive places to do business, and he wants his next factory to be in Rwanda serving as centre for East Africa.” The agreement will see the company establish a factory that will be producing shoes, clothes, bags as well as electronic equipment.

According to Zhang, his company’s plan is to invest over $1 billion for the next 10 years and create over 20,000 jobs. “For the past three days, I have developed a feeling that Rwanda is much like any European country because there’s high efficient government with proper management,” he said. Zhang expressed confidence about his future investment in Rwanda as he believes the country’s development strategy is quite similar to China’s. “Rwanda’s development strategy is similar to China’s strategy in producing high end products and increasing exports. Politics is steady, the leadership of this Government is efficient,” he said.

Zhang is interested in investing in electronics and IT development, creating jobs and boosting Made-in-Rwanda exports. He also plans to produce cell phones, air conditioners and computers. He said he was inspired to invest in Africa by the likes of Li Yong, the director-general of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), and Justin Yifu Lin, the former World Bank chief economist and senior vice-president for development economics, both of whom are Chinese. According to RDB officials, the Government has already availed land at the Kigali Special Economic Zone and they believe Zhang’s investment will contribute to export diversification, which is in line with the country’s vision. “We are confident that Zhang’s commitment to invest in Rwanda will diversify and improve exports of finished products,” Akamanzi said.

Factory to be up in April

In April, Zhang said, they expect to have put up the manufacturing plant, and that they plan to train about 200 Rwandans before the end of the year. He highlighted plans to invest and build five light industrial parks in the developing countries of Africa in the next 10 years, producing and processing clothing, shoes and hats, bags and suitcases, electronics and other light industrial products, and will in the process provide 100,000 job opportunities. Huajian Group joins a list of other Chinese companies in textile sector operating in the country one of which is C&H Garments Factory, which is one of the country’s fastest growing textiles firms currently making police uniforms, safety vests, and most recently military kit. In the last six years (2011-16), Rwanda has witnessed an unprecedented number of Chinese investments especially in the areas of tourism, ICT, construction, agriculture, manufacturing and infrastructural development. The total estimated amount of Chinese investments registered in Rwanda is equivalent to $103 million, according to RDB. The total jobs registered from these investments is 5,425.

SOURCE: New Times

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Egypt: Area cultivated with cotton in 2016 was lowest since Mohamed Ali Pasha: Minister

Agriculture Minister Abdel Moneim al-Banna said Sunday that the overall area cultivated with cotton in Egypt decreased to 129 thousand feddans in 2016, the lowest amount since the era of Mohamed Ali Pasha, but pointed out that the ministry succeeded this year in cultivating 220 thousand feddans. Banna told al-Masry al-Youm ahead of his visit to Fayoum to witness the start of cotton harvest season on Saturday that the harvest season started early this year. He pointed out that the area cultivated with cotton across the country has seen a significant increase since last season, saying that the area cultivated this year include 62 thousand feddans planted with cotton for reproduction. Banna added that this will contribute to the implementation of the ministry’s plan to increase the cultivated area to 350 thousand acres next season.

Banna said that there are instructions from the political leadership in Egypt and the current government to promote Egyptian cotton and to encourage farmers to grow it, to increase the cultivated areas, and for the country to return to its throne and its reputation internationally as a leading producer of the crop.

Crackdown on fake cotton helps revive Egypt crop

He added that the names of cotton farmers whose productivity exceeds 10 qantars per feddan are being registered so that can be honored and rewarded to encourage them to increase their productivity and improve the crops. Egypt’s cotton output has been declining for the past decade after farmers failed to adapt to shifting consumer demand for mass-produced items made from short- or medium-staple fiber, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The decline has become a full-fledged crisis in recent years after the government removed cash subsidies, and many farmers replaced cotton acreage with rice, the USDA said.

SOURCE: The Egypt Independent

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How WOVNS Is Revolutionizing The Interior Design Textile Market

Does limitation breed possibility or does freedom and individuality? That’s an interesting question that designers will be facing in the next decade as more and more AI customization programs come onto the market to speed up manufacturing and design. The answer at Bay Area Company WOVNS is both. They are bringing freedom within limitation to the world of interior design. Run by sister duo Dena Molnar and Chelsea Molnar, WOVNS is a jacquard textile program and collaboration with US mills that lets interior designers create their own jacquard textiles, choose their own colors, order as little as one yard at a time and get it in a week. It’s a game changer and here’s why.

In the past century, fashion and interior designers have been limited by three major factors: lead times, minimum order quantities, and pre-design by factory. Lead time means the amount of time you need to give a textile mill to produce the fabric you want. Most mills require 3-6 months to produce textiles once they are ordered.Why so long? Weaving textiles is a complicated business that requires numerous materials, spinning, dyeing and weaving. No mill can sit on endless quantities of material hoping that orders will come in. They have to order fibers like cotton or wool and then dye to your color specifications and set up their looms. All of this requires time and is susceptible to things like weather and trade negotiations. Plus, the time setting up machines that sometimes take up an entire warehouse in size, is complex.

Minimum order quantities or MOQ’s as they are known in the industry have also been an obstacle to designers. Due to the time and cost of setting up a loom, most companies require orders of hundreds or thousands of yards. Let’s say a company wants to use 50 different fabrics in a collection then multiply that by thousands of yards per each fabric colorway (and many times you ware working with 3-9 colorways per fabric pattern), and you begin to see that there is a sizable investment involved. Some Italian and French companies have been known to allow for orders as small as 25-100 yards of qualities they already have but try producing in China and you may be facing hundreds of thousands of dollars for a first order. Not money that most start-up companies have.

An interesting side-note about jacquard patterns. They’ve been around since the 1800s and are thought by some to be the precursors to 1950s style computers as they work similarly with hole punched cards that dictate the patterns to the looms proving that science and craft have deep roots of collaboration in history.

Lastly, design limitations. Due to the high cost and complexity of weaving, most mills review trends and begin designing as much as 2-3 years before they offer their textiles to the design market. When they do, the patterns, colors and materials have been predetermined and designers are left to be creative within those limitations by changing colors, adding prints and by where and how they use them . Larger companies have had more freedom by being able to order to whatever they want but here’s the catch. Larger brands are mass market which means instead of offering cutting edge design, they are offering choices at a budget which means they need fabrics that are cheap which limits design by price. Designers have only had total freedom to create textiles from scratch when they could design custom as in the world of Haute Couture where small yardages are made by hand to exact specifications and where time and cost is no object.

When we look at the previous limitations of lead times, MOQ’s and preset choice, it’s easy to see why WOVNS is so exciting and why they've been featured by Martha Stewart in America Made and WWD. They’ve opened the door to small firms and young designers who have great ideas but not a lot of backing. It is precisely to make individual designs possible that Dena and Chelsea started WOVNS. Grad school into how textile simulation tools could facilitate on-demand manufacture of jacquard fabrics led to Dena and her sister, developing the software needed to implement such an automated system. Chelsea and Dena launched the company with a Kickstarter campaign for the design software that then moved into a relationship with several mills.

WOVNS -WOVNS Textiles

How it works: Each mill is set up with specific yarns (i.e., polyester, cotton, wool) for the horizontal threads (called weft) and for the vertical threads (called warp) . Each loom, is pre-set with certain colors. Clients can, using design programs like Photoshop or WOVNS own software design the textile pattern they want in the colors of their choice and because the mill is already set up, there is a very small lead time. Yes, there are some limitations with pre-set colors and yarns but the beauty of jacquard textiles is that there are millions of variations between warp and weft allowing for almost unlimited creativity. In short, WOVNS has proven that both limitation and freedom make for endless creativity.

WOVNS inception has been largely shaped by Dena and Chelsea in architecture and textile design. Both she and her sister have always been close. They both attended RISD. Dena went to study painting but when she noticed the exciting artwork coming from the textile school below the painting studio, she found herself signing up for a course. Chelsea joined her, but as Dena puts it, was slightly put-off by all the fashion design students in black (she and her sister wore the typical paint smeared jeans of artists) and quickly switched out for furniture design. Dena stayed, and the rest they say, is history…except, not quite. Before she became a fully-fledged textile designer and leading researcher in the area of technological textiles there would be a few explorative steps along the way.

After RISD, she moved to the Bay Area to look for work. A proud graduate, with training in Point Carré textile programs it was something of a shock to find out everyone was using Photoshop and Illustrator in San Francisco, two programs she didn’t know. Dena realized that she was going to have to learn these programs and that there just wasn’t enough of a textile industry to provide a lot of career options, so she moved back to the East coast, to New York. Once there, she began to work for Maharam one of the biggest commercial textile firms where she says, “she really learned how the textile industry worked.” To teach herself about software, she started taking night classes at FIT and saw the amazing 3D modeling programs like Rhino and Autocad that her sister Chelsea and that accessory designers were using. Dena began to wonder why there weren’t 3D programs like that for the textile industry.

After Maharam , she worked with Leah Buechley who ran the Hi Lo tech lab at MIT . Leah is an electrical engineer with a passion for craft. Her belief that art and tech needed to communicate is largely responsible for the current art + tech movement. It was an eye-opening experience that set her up for eventually working on Project Jacquard with Levi’s and Google. “People don’t realize how much goes into the fashion and textile industry,” she said. “It was a real learning curve for Google.” “They had to solve problems like washability and wearability.”

The past two years Dena and Chelsea have spent their time getting WOVNS up and going. Chelsea’s background in architecture has helped her bring deep insights to the company about how interior design textiles are specified for the commercial market. Now that WOVNS is successfully established, the sisters have a lot of great projects in the works, like expanding the number of mills they collaborate with so that they can offer more choice, possibly offering fabrics for the fashion market down the road, and expanding further internationally. They currently work with customers in the Netherlands and South America. They are also focusing heavily on improving the UX of the software. Dena is excited to get back to the design side of the business and create a line of textiles that they will offer for purchase. In terms of Bay Area collaborations, Dena is demure. “We’re working on some exciting projects with a lot of innovative companies here,” she says, “but I can’t reveal what those projects are yet.”

We look forward to hearing about coming innovations for WOVNS and in the meantime, can rejoice in the fact that for the first time EVER, we have the freedom to design our own fabrics and order as little as a yard.

SOURCE: The Forbes

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Donald Trump plans to nominate Indian American Manisha Singh to key post in State Department

US president Donald Trump has plans to nominate an Indian American woman to a key post in the State Department, putting her in a pivotal position of US economic diplomacy, a media report said. Manisha Singh is currently the chief counsel and senior policy adviser to US Senator Dan Sullivan. If confirmed by the Senate, Singh would fill an important position of Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, after Charles Rivkin's resignation, the American Bazaar online reported on Thursday. The position has been vacant after Rivkin resigned following the swearing in of the new US administration.

Singh is a former deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business Affairs in the State Department and has also served as deputy chief counsel to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee. She also has private sector experience multinational law firms and in an investment bank. Singh earned an LLM in International Legal Studies from the American University Washington College of Law, a Juris Doctor (JD) from the University of Florida College of Law and a BA from the University of Miami at the age of 19. She is licensed to practice law in Florida, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia and speaks fluent Hindi, according to a press release from the White House. Singh is a native of Uttar Pradesh and she moved to Florida along with her parents as a child. Singh is also a member of the South Asian Bar Association and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

SOURCE: The FirstPost

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