1.Need of a new textile policy (Live Mint)
2.Explained: Why some cancer cells can survive radiation
1.Need of a new textile policy (Live Mint)
Synoptic line: It throws light on the need of India to have a new textile policy in order to boost textile sector. (GS paper III)
- India’s textile sector, covering everything from fibre to garments, has the second-largest employment after agriculture, employing an estimated 32 million workers.
- It has the potential to double this employment in the next seven years as per the vision document of the union textiles ministry. It is a sector which not only provides livelihoods to millions of households, but is a storehouse of traditional skills, heritage, and a carrier of heritage and culture too.
- The textile industry is a diverse sector, which includes everything from small handloom factories to large garment plants. The sector operates in both organised and unorganised forms and is known for its close association with agriculture.
- The rapid upgradation of factories, labour welfare and strong domestic as well as international demand are likely to drive the growth of the Indian textile industry in the future. Major global garment and apparel brands have started their operations in India.
- The government is encouraging investment in the textile sector through 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) via automatic route.
Threat to Textile sector
- Artisans, weavers, handloom workers are custodians of designs and skills which they have been inheriting and bequeathing for ages.
- This is also a sector which is undergoing a huge churn due to automation, digital printing and the relentless rise of e-commerce. All these three developments threaten to completely change the face of this industry.
- What is India’s strategy to ride this disruptive wave? Should we leave it to free market forces to determine who survives, who prospers, who innovates and who perishes?
Need of a new textile policy
- The potential of textiles as a solution for reviving the economy can be traced back to India’s independence movement, under the leadership of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi who fervently advocated domestically produced fabrics.
- The last official national textile policy is from 17 years ago. The one prior to that was in 1985. Talk of a new policy has been in the works for several years.
- We need a national textile policy document, an articulation much like the national telecom policy of 1999, which was a game changer, and led to the upsurge of India’s telecom revolution, An equally imaginative, bold and futuristic blueprint is urgently needed.
- Consider this. The world operated under a patently unfair quota system called the Multi Fibre Agreement (MFA), which shackled the growth of India’s textile and garment exports. The MFA was dismantled completely in 2005 and India was supposed to surge ahead. Instead we have lost steam. India’s share of textile exports in total exports, at 12%, is half of what it was in 1996.
Asian case studies
- Bangladesh’s garment exports exceeded India’s in absolute terms back in 2003. Today it exports more than $35 billion worth of garments, twice that of India.
- Indeed, there are Indian entrepreneurs who have set up operations in Bangladesh for exports to Western markets. Even late starter Vietnam overtook India in 2011, and now exports garments worth $32 billion.
- The fact that these two smaller nations have preferential access to the European Union and US markets doesn’t quite explain their huge lead over India. Their growth in exports has been at 20% per year, against India’s 8%.
Need to realign Indian textiles
- While India has a rich mix of synthetic and natural fibres and yarns, including cotton, jute, silk, polyester and viscose, it remains a cotton-focused country. The presence of cotton in yarn, fibre, fabric and garments is close to 70% of usage within India, which is also reflected in exports. Only 30% is from synthetics and man-made fibres.
- The global trend is exactly the obverse, i.e. 70% consists of man-made fibres. So India’s domestic and export mix is the opposite of global fashion and demand trends.
- With rising wages in China, the labour-intensive garment sector is perhaps moving out, and represents a great opportunity for India. But unless that is grabbed soon with a coherent and holistic national policy, we run the risk of losing to countries like Vietnam.
- Textiles, along with agriculture, construction and tourism, has large-scale job creation potential. It is a sector dotted with small and medium enterprises, which make up 80% of the units. It is ideally positioned to be a poster child for Make In India. But it needs a national policy and implementation plan, which can address these challenges: changing consumer and fashion trends, a significant demand for investment and modernization of machinery, massive skill upgradation, meaningful export incentives, a fibre-neutral tax policy, a big digital push in design and automation, and lastly, meeting the needs of the e-commerce phenomenon.
Question: What are the technology related impediments in textile sector. How India can overcome these impediments?
Explained : 2. Why some cancer cells can survive radiation (GS paper III)
- A major concern in cancer treatment is the tendency of some cancer cells becoming resistant to radiation therapy. Indian scientists have now deciphered how such resistance develops in cervical cancer cells, and claim that these cells can be made sensitive to radiation if treated with curcumin a compound found in turmeric.
Why cancer develops resistance
- Cancer cells as well as tumours harbour a small population of stem cells which become resistant to drugs and radiation treatment. That’s why even after most cancer cells get killed with treatment, these cells continue to grow and cause lesions which could make cancer reappear over time.
- Earlier research had suggested pivotal role of a human protein, AP-1, in development of resistance to radiation in various cancers, but how it happens was not known.
- The new study delineates the exact mechanism of resistance in cells from cervical cancer caused by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Researchers feel the mechanism could be similar in other cancers as well.
- The study builds upon earlier findings that pre-treatment with curcumin a safe herbal compound derived from curcumin makes cancer stem cells sensitive to radiation therapy.
- It has found that combined effect of curcumin and exposure to radiation was markedly more effective in lowering AP-1 levels thereby rendering cells unviable for growth and replication.
- When treated with radiation alone, there was delayed but increased rate of proliferation and tumor formation.
- The mechanism of curcumin-induced inhibition lends credibility to AP-1 as a drug target and therapeutic utility of curcumin for radio-sensitization of cervical cancer stem cells for better treatment outcomes.
Question: What attributes among cancer makes it resistant to radiation therapy?