The increasing demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in local as well as global markets provides a huge opportunity for domestic exporters, industry body AEPC said on Sunday.
The Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) said the sector is gearing up to start producing these goods, which comes under the medical textiles segment, with a view to making India a hub for sourcing of PPE kits over the next few years.
The council had recently organised a webinar on ‘Manufacturing of PPE Products under Medical Textiles’, which saw about 2,000 participants, mainly apparel exporters from across the country.
“According to a study, there will be domestic demand of Rs 10,000 crore for the next one year and internationally there will be a USD 60 billion business in 2025, whereas India has done only USD 260 million so far last year,” AEPC Chairman A Sakthivel said.
Though many of the PPE products needed for frontline health workers are banned for exports currently, he said once the local manufacturers meet the Indian demand, they should be allowed to export. AEPC has already submitted a request for this to the government.
“I believe all the apparel manufacturers can enter into the coverall garments (segment) provided they have a seam sealing machine. That’s the one machine we need for our factories. We will have to import this machine if we want to go for PPE kits,” he added.
Sakthivel further said AEPC will have a separate cell for PPE as its immediate task is to provide sufficient kits domestically to prevent their further imports.
Indian Technical Textiles Association (ITTA) Chairman K S Sundararaman said there is a strong anti-China sourcing sentiment right now and this presents an opportunity for India.
“We have a vibrant Indian and global market. Please reach out to doctors who are near you and understand these medical professionals who will wear these PPE.
“Connect with them and understand the practical aspects of breathability, wearability issues that they are having and create garments for that. If you are able to satisfy that customer then the world is at our feet,” Sundararaman said.