She also announced a formal course on ‘technical textiles’ at National Institute of Fashion Technology campuses across India that would widen the scope of opportunities for fashion entrepreneurs.
Irani was in Srinagar addressing the first convocation of NIFT Srinagar campus, which started the first batch in 2016. The minister said that NIFT’s Srinagar campus is a ‘Mini Bharat’ as out of the total of 160 students 145 are from different parts of the country.
“We are currently number two after China (in silk production) and after two years we hope to be self-sufficient enough to not be dependent on any foreign country for the raw material,” said Irani, while addressing the convocation at the International Convention Centre on the banks of Dal Lake. Irani was accompanied by minister of state of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju and Lieutenant Governor of J&K Manoj Sinha, addressed the gathering online from winter capital Jammu. In the first convocation 31 students were felicitated out of which 28 were from different parts of the country.“India in the past five years has seen an increase of 35 percent in production of silk…in silk sector we have seen a 20 percent increase in employment recently,” she said.
The minister also praised the Srinagar campus for emerging as the center of excellence in a short span of time and urged students to widen the scope of their engagement with the fashion industry.
“Technical textiles is a very important aspect of the industry…even if we have to make component of a rocket or any other product at ISRO, it has a textile component, bullet proof vests of paramilitary has textile element, even in road construction jute is used,” said Irani, who announced that such courses would not be formally taught at the NIFT campuses.
She also urged the NIFT students to explore the areas of railways, water resources and health for which the central government has slotted a budget of Rs 3 lakh crore of which ‘technical textile is a big part.’
“This also expands the scope for young textile and fashion entrepreneurs…you should also explore the sportswear industry, which we mostly import,” she said. “Today’s batch passes with experience, history and possibilities. You are part of the one nation, one ambition…” said Irani.