What is pulling down Indian Textile Industry? (Source: Financial Express)
Once the cheapest in the world, Indian cotton yarn is now amongst the most expensive in the world due to rising minimum support price of cotton (about 28% per year). This has led to sharp fall in both cotton exports as well as cotton yarn exports. Duties and taxes levied on exports are also not being refunded in time increasing the woes of the textile and clothing exporters. Despite being the second largest manufacturer and exporter of textiles in the world the share of India in the global exports of textile and clothing to the US and Europe is less than 10%. India faces stiff competition from countries like Bangladesh and Vietnam which have competitive manufacturing costs and enjoy duty free access to major textile and clothing importing countries in Europe and the USA.
Indian government has taken initiatives like Amended Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme(ATUFS), Scheme for Capacity Building in Textile Sector(SCBTS), PowerTex India etc. to make the Indian textile industry globally competitive, boost exports and facilitate modernization. However, more needs to be done particularly in terms of cotton prices and export incentives to pull the industry out of the gloom.
Wearable Electronics? (Source: Nanowerk Spotlight: nanowerk.com)
Yes , wearable and washable textile garments containing electronics are a reality now! By embedding ultrathin, flexible sensors, actuators, electronics and nanogenerators into textiles it becomes possible to develop a new generation of self-powered e-textiles where the electronic components are invisible(being transparent). The resulting smart garments, smart medical attachments, data gloves and other human-machine interfaces will herald a new era of wearable electronics!
The electronic components in e-textiles are prone to short circuits, rust and mechanical degradation due to the natural flexibility and hygroscopic nature of natural fibres like cotton and wool which not only damages textile based electronics but also contributes to bacterial proliferation, making the garment smelly and uncomfortable to wear. Moreover, there is a problem of putting the e-garments into washing machines. Thanks to the new research work done at Purdue University, it is now possible to fabricate e-textiles that can protect you from rain, stains, and bacteria, while they harvest the biomechanical energy of the user to power textile based electronics. Textile companies can embed flexible circuits in the clothes they manufacture and avoid using heavy rigid batteries to power them, making the textiles compatible with standard machine washing. The researchers have filed a provisional patent application and they are engaged in active discussions about how to integrate their technology with hospital gowns to begin with!
Russian scientists are reported to have developed nuclear batteries that last over 100 years! You will be relieved of the botheration to recharge or replace the batteries for your lifetime once your smart phone/medical device/electric car is powered by the nuclear battery.
Author :Avinash Gupta