Social Scientist. v 5, no. 54-55 (Jan-Feb 1977) p. 93.


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MRIDUL EAPEN

Emerging Trends in Cotton Textile Consumption

COTTON TEXTILE INDUSTRY in India is composed of the organized mill sector and the decentralized sector which includes handlooms and powerlooms. Currently the quantum of production (measured in metres) by mills is 54 per cent and the rest by handlooms and powerlooms.1

At the prevailing levels of per capita income, food accounts for almost 80 per cent of the total consumption expenditure for large groups of India's population. Clothing is the most significant item of consumption in the non-food group. Within the clothing group cottonwear dominates, partly for natural and historical reasons but mainly because of the low average levels of per capita income.2 As population increases and incomes are generated in the process of planned development, one would expect production and consumption of cotton cloth to rise. National Sample Survey (NSS) data on consumer expenditure suggest that the expenditure elasticity of demand for clothing is greater than unity.8

But trends in output of the industry in the post-independence period reveal that not only has increase in production lagged behind growth of population, but per capita consumption of cloth has failed to respond adequately to the increase in per capita real incomes, howsoever marginal. Aggregate domestic availability or apparent consumption has



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