Performance of electronic industry in India



Historical Developments

The Electronics Industry in India took off around 1965 with an orientation towards space and defence technologies. This was rigidly controlled and initiated by the government. This was followed by developments in consumer electronics mainly with transistor radios, Black & White TV, Calculators and other audio products. Colour Televisions soon followed. In 1982-a significant year in the history of television in India - the government allowed thousands of colour TV sets to be imported into the country to coincide with the broadcast of Asian Games in New Delhi. 1985 saw the advent of Computers and Telephone exchanges, which were succeeded by Digital Exchanges in 1988. The period between 1984 and 1990 was the golden period for electronics during which the industry witnessed continuous and rapid growth.

From 1991 onwards, there was first an economic crises triggered by the Gulf War which was followed by political and economic uncertainties within the country. Pressure on the electronics industry remained though growth and developments have continued with digitalisation in all sectors, and more recently the trend towards convergence of technologies. After the software boom in mid 1990s India's focus shifted to software. While the hardware sector was treated with indifference by successive governments. Moreover the steep fall in custom tariffs made the hardware sector suddenly vulnerable to international competition. In 1997 the ITA agreement was signed at the WTO where India committed itself to total elimination of all customs duties on IT hardware by 2005. In the subsequent years, a number of companies turned sick and had to be closed down. At the same time companies like Moser Baer, Samtel Colour, Celetronix etc. have made a mark globally.

Current Scenario

In recent years the electronic industry is growing at a brisk pace. It is currently worth US$ 32 Billion and according to industry estimates it has the potential to reach US$ 150 billion by 2010. The largest segment is the consumer electronics segment. While is largest export segment is of components.

The electronic industry in India constitutes just 0.7 per cent of the global electronic industry. Hence it is miniscule by international comparison. However the demand in the Indian market is growing rapidly and investments are flowing in to augment manufacturing capacity.

The output of the Electronic Hardware Industry in India is worth US$11.6 Billion at present. India is also an exporter of a vast range of electronic components and products for the following segments

  • Display technologies
  • Entertainment electronics
  • Optical Storage devices
  • Passive components
  • Electromechanical components
  • Telecom equipment
  • Transmission & Signaling equipment
  • Semiconductor designing
  • Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS)

This growth has attracted global players to India and leaders like Solectron, Flextronics, Jabil, Nokia, Elcoteq and many more have made large investments to access the Indian market. In consumer electronics Korean companies such as LG and Samsung have made commitments by establishing large manufacturing facilities and now enjoy a significant share in the growing market for products such as Televisions, CD/DVD Players, Audio equipment and other entertainment products.

The growth in telecom products demand has been breathtaking and India is adding 2 million mobile phone users every month! With telecom penetration of around 10 per cent, this growth is expected to continue at least over the next decade. Penetration levels in other high growth products are equally high and growth in demand for Computer/ IT products, auto electronics, medical, industrial, as well as consumer electronics is equally brisk. Combined with low penetration levels and the Indian economy growing at an impressive 7 per cent per annum, the projection of a US$150 Billion+ market is quite realistic and offers an excellent opportunity to electronics players worldwide.

Electronic Manufacturing Services

India is well-known for its software prowess. But on the hardware front, the progress is rather slow. However, the country has been making gains in this sector also. Already, 50 Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS)/Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs) providers are operating in India, ranging from global players including Flextronics and Solectron to indigenous firms including Deltron, TVS Electronics and Sahasra. Further moves by international players are expected to add production in India in the coming years.

India's contract-manufacturing business is expected to nearly triple in revenue over the next five years, a development that will present both opportunities and potential pitfalls for the worldwide electronics supply chain. Revenue generated by Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) providers and Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs) in India will expand to $2.03 billion in 2009, rising at a CAGR of 21 per cent from $774 million in 2004. Indian EMS/ODM revenue grew by 20.8 per cent to reach $935 million in 2005.

Obvious allure of locating electronics production in India is the nation's low labor costs. Labor costs for conducting electronics manufacturing in India are between 30 to 40 per cent less than in the United States or in Western Europe. Other equally important benefits from operating in India include a fast-growing domestic market, an excellent education system, the nation's technology parks and the recent improvements in the country's transit and utility infrastructure.

However, the Indian contract-manufacturing industry is not expected to pose a significant threat to China's position as the epicenter of electronics manufacturing in the short term. India's contract manufacturing activities primarily serve the nation's indigenous demand. OEMs primarily outsource manufacturing to cater to the Indian domestic market, although export of Indian-assembled electronic goods does occur. In the longer term, i.e. 2009 onward, it is predicted that India may compete with the Chinese providers in select products as the nation's share of the global electronics market increases.

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Electronics Industry in India

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) form the lifeblood of any vibrant economy. SMEs all over the world have been recognized as the silent drivers of a nation's economy. In the emerging economic order SMEs are the leading edge when it comes to innovation and entering new global markets. The SME story in India is no different. With over 50% of industrial output through 95% industrial units, SMEs form the backbone of the Indian economy. Their contribution to the economy is huge and hence they are entitled to their rightful share of attention from Financial Institutions.

In India, Small Scale Industrial Units are those engaged in the manufacture, processing or preservation of goods and the total investment in Plant and Machinery (original cost) does not exceed Rs. One crore (one US Dollar is approximately equivalent to Indian Rupees 48.50). The investment limit of Rs. 1 crore for classification as SSI has been enhanced to Rs. 5 crore in respect of certain specified items under hosiery, hand tools, drugs, pharmaceuticals and stationery items and sports goods by the Govt. of India.


Literature Review

Recently, Andersson, A., Clausson, C., Johansson, D (2009) studied in detail the, "Competence Barriers to Innovation in case of Small Enterprises". As per the findings of the Research, innovation is, in most cases, a necessity for firms in today's changing market place. However, innovation is no easy process and there are many barriers and impediments to innovation that needs to be overcome in order to efficiently innovate. The purpose of this Research Report is to investigate competence barriers to innovation within Small Enterprises and the consequences these barriers might result in.

Ramayah, Thurasamy, at el (2009) proposed to develop an integrated model to explain technology adoption of SMEs in Malaysia. Although, resource has been an issue among SMEs they cannot lie low and ignore the technological advancements that are taking place at a rapid pace. With that in mind this paper proposes a model to explain the technology adoption issue among SMEs.

Radzeviciene, D. (2008) analysed the role of knowledge management in small and medium-sized enterprises in Lithuania by looking at information and knowledge resources, the development of information technology which supports the business process and the main processes of KM inside companies. There appears to be a strong awareness of KM. However, the development of adequate methods to make IM and KM fully effective appears to be lacking or only partially realized. There is some evidence to suggest that Lithuanian SME managers are becoming more psychologically prepared to work within KM.

Vinnova (2007) conducted a study on "Competence Barriers to Innovation in SME Industries". The findings of the study showed that 18 per cent of SMEs consider a shortage of qualified personnel as a high barrier to innovation. As such, they must look into this factor for successful implementation of the proposed plan.

Chu, Benzing and Mcgee (2007), conducted a study on entrepreneurs in Kenya and Ghana to find out the main motivation factors for the growth of SMEs Sector in these countries. They observed that the strongest two motivators were to increase income and to provide themselves with employment.

Ramesha, K. (2005) in a study on "Globalisation : Changing Policy Framework and SME Strategies has observed that in the changing environment, it is imperative to address the need for reforms in the existing policies and design new policies and strategies for the promotion and development of SMEs in the developing countries. However, the efficacy of these policies/programmes depends critically on the openness of trade regime and existence of domestic competition. Against this backdrop, it attempts to critically examine the framework of policy support and strategies for the development of SMEs in India.

Dana and Wright (2005) conducted a study on the need and factor responsible for entering into Joint Ventures by the SME Entrepreneurs. They observed that new technology based firms are more capable and competitive. They are in a better position to form alliances. They are able to develop networks that raise the probability of selecting a Joint Venture to enter the foreign market.

Luostarinen and Gabrielsson (2004), in their study on globalization of the SME Industry, concluded that born global or drawn from large countries globalize mainly because of the demand based pull forces in global markets for their products. Conversely, Born Global drawn from small and open economies do so due to the push and pressure forces related to the smallness and openness of domestic markets and the fear of expected future competition coming from Born Global located in large countries.

The study by LE Gales et. Al (2004), throws some light on the factors for internationalization of the SME Sector. It reveals that firms that are inexperienced at internationalization may not have the human capital or financial resources to identify potential partners and build networks with large organizations.

Gibbs, A. (2003) in a study, "Small and Medium Enterprise Development: Borrowing from elsewhere, explores the issue of ideas internationally. The focus is upon the transfer of knowledge and practice in the field of Small and Medium Enterprise Development. It points out that there is greater opportunity for ideas transfer via the new communication technologies. It argues that there has been a neglect of such work in academic field and is a strong case for greater academic interest.


Research Methodology and Objectives

This chapter presents the methodological concerns used in conducting this research and provide a justification for each step taken. It involves the Ojective and Aims of the study, Research Methodology, Data Collection, Summary of Statistical Measurement Methods and Credibility of the Research.

Aims and Objectives of the Study

The specific objectives of the study are:

  1. To study the trend and predict the future trend of growth in of Electronic industry in India.
  2. To find out the growth drivers and production trends of different segments in electronic industry.

Research Methodology

This paper is based on descriptive study in which data is collected from various types of sources like Journals, Articles published in online databases, Reports of Government surveys, Reports of various electronic companies and previous studies done on related subject. Data is then analyzed with the help SPSS to drawn at concluded pattern to know the growth in electronic industry. After that identify the various drivers which lead into growth of electronic industry.

Types of Data Collected

Secondary Data:

"Secondary data are data collected for some purpose other than the problem at hand."(Malhotra & Birks 2007, p.94). In this study secondary data were collected from the official websites of companies that are provide electronic devices, Reports of Government surveys, Reports of various electronic companies, online articles and journals.

Summary of Statistical Measurement Methods

A brief summary regarding the statistical tools will be used in this study.

Descriptive Analysis: Descriptive analysis with the help of Mean, Median, and Mode of trends of growth helps to find out the result for the fulfillment of research objectives.


Analysis and Interpretation


India's contract manufacturing activities primarily serve the nation's indigenous demand. OEMs primarily outsource manufacturing to cater to the Indian domestic market, although export of Indian-assembled electronic goods does occur. In the longer term, i.e. 2009 onward, it is predicted that India may compete with the Chinese providers in select products as the nation's share of the global electronics market increases.

For OEMs, using contract manufacturing services in India can help them penetrate the local market. However, OEMs face specific risks associated with using contract manufacturers in India. Fluid exchange rates combined with volatile oil and component prices lead to unpredictable costs. Changing government policies along with shifting government regimes also contribute to an unpredictable political environment. Doing business in India is often disjointed, with an inefficient bureaucratic system that causes frequent delays. However, for OEMs able to manage these risks, the opportunity in India is significant.

The semiconductor fabrication segment has a small existing base in India with only two fabrication units, which both are developing chips for the defense and strategic sectors. However, semiconductor suppliers are expanding their manufacturing activities in India to serve the growing contract-manufacturing industry in the nation. As evidence of this trend, groundbreaking commenced on a 200 mm fabrication unit in Hyderabad operated by Nano-Tech Silicon India Ltd.

Recent trends show that an increasing number of engineering and design activities are also being outsorced to EMS companies and they are becoming ODMs (Original Design manufacturers) and also provide final system integration and logistical support.

E&Y have projected that India can target a share of 1 per cent in North America, 2 per cent in Western Europe, 4 per cent of Asia and 5 per cent of Rest of the World of the Electronics Manufacturing Services market. Thus India can target 2.2 per cent of the world-wide electronics EMS market of US$497 Billion by 2010 which works out to a potential of US$11 Billion.

The recent acceleration in EMS activity is mainly due to rapid growth in the electronic Hardware market in all segments particularly rapid growth has taken place in Telecom Infrastructure Equipment, computers, Consumer & Hand held devices.

India Electronics Equipment Consumption Market

The bubbles in the chart depict the share of Indian electronic equipment consumption as a % of the global electronics equipment production (X, Y)= (Year, Share in %)

India Electronics Equipment Consumption Market- A $300 billion Opportunity, Emerging as one of the largest markets for electronic equipment.

India's electronic equipment consumption was estimated at around $28.2 billion in 2005, expected to reach $126.7 billion by 2010 and $363 billion by 2015 growing at a CAGR 29.8%.

Electronic equipment consumption in 2003 was approximately around 1.8% in 2005. It is expected to grow to 2.9% in 2007, 5.5% in 2010 and 11% in 2015.

Semiconductor content in the estimated electronic consumption in 2015 is expected to be $36.3 bn accounting for 6.50% of the global semiconductor revenues.

Electronics Equipment Production

Electronics Equipment Production -$150+ billion Opportunity, Indian electronics production output had a share of less than 1% in global electronics industry. The share is expected to increase to 2.5% in 2010 and 5% in 2015.

This shows that there is a high potential for electronic equipment manufacturing companies.

It also found that the estimated manufacturing of $155 bn in 2015 which is expected to create an opportunity of $15.52 bn semiconductor market for semiconductor companies and also for Electronic Manufacturing Services companies (EMS).

India Electronic Equipment Manufacturing

The Growth Drivers

Behind the impressive growth of the electronics industry is the robust and consistent growth in Electronic Hardware market of approximately 25 per cent due to a stable economy & large middle class of 350 million people. The fastest growing segments are demand for telecom services particularly cell phones, internet subscribers & growth in demand for it products with increasing penetration of computers, falling prices & Government support to rapidly encourage usage of IT in all sectors. Within next 5 years penetration of telephone users (both landline & mobile) is projected to increase from 100 to 500 per thousand while PC's increase from 10 to 30 plus per thousand. Some of the other factors are

  • Highly talented workforce, especially for design and engineering services with good communication skills.
  • Rising labor costs in China.
  • Presence of global Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) majors in India and their plans for increased investments in India.
  • More outsourcing of manufacturing by both Indian and global Original Equipment Manufacturers.

Production Trend of Different Segments

Consumer Electronics

Consumer electronics (durables) sector continues to be the main stay of the Indian electronic industry contributing about 32 per cent of the total electronic hardware production. By the end of 2005-06, the market for consumer durables (including entertainment electronics, communitarian and IT products) was Rs 180 billion (US $4.5 billion). The market is expected to grow at 10 to 12 per cent annually and is expected to reach Rs 60 billion (US$13.3 billion) by 2008. The urban consumer durables market is growing at an annual rate of seven to 10 per cent, the rural durables market is growing at 25 per cent annually. Some high-growth categories within this segment include mobile phones, TVs and music systems.

Computer Industry

With sound macroeconomic condition and buoyant buying sentiment in the market, PC sales touched 6.5 million units during 2006-07. The high growth in PC sales is attributed to increased consumption by Industry verticals such as Telecom, Banking and Financial Services, Manufacturing, Education, Retail and BPO/IT-enabled services as well as major e-Governance initiatives of the Central and State Governments. Significant consumption in the small and medium enterprises and increased PC purchase in smaller towns and cities was witnessed during the year. It is expected that increased Government focus on pan-India deployment of broadband at one of the lowest costs in the world will soon lead to accelerated PC consumption in the home market.

The growing domestic IT market has now given impetus to manufacturing in India. The year witnessed not only capacity expansion by the existing players, but also newer investments in hardware manufacturing. India is also high on the agenda of electronics manufacturing services companies.

Control, Instrumentation and Industrial Sector

This is now a matured industry sector in the country at least as far as various application segments is concerned. State-of-art and reliable SCADA, PLC/Data Acquisition systems are being applied across various sections of the process industry. Latest AC drive systems from smaller to very high power levels also find application in large engineering industries like steel plants and/or metal industries. World class UPS systems are being manufactured in the country to cater to the need of the emerging digital economy. However, it appears there is really no manufacturing base in the country for the whole range of the latest test and measuring instruments which are invariably procured from outside. A good number of Indian companies in the control and instrumentation sector are able to acquire orders for export systems through international competitive bidding.

However, the creation of knowledge base in the country through industrial R&D in this critical sector has not been improving as desired. There is still lack of needed R&D activities by the industry looking at the global market. On the part of Department of Information Technology some of the latest technology development and applications in this area include Intelligent SCADA Systems for monitoring and control of Mini Hydel plants, Advanced Traffic Control System for urban transportation, Intelligent Power Controllers for improvement of quality of electric power, etc. These systems have been successfully developed and applied in real field conditions.

Communication & Broadcasting Sector

The telecommunication industry has gained tremendous recognition as the key driver for all round development and growth. With about 256 million telephone subscribers (as on February, 2007) India has emerged as one of the largest in the world and second largest in Asia.

The share of private sector in telecom industry has increased to more than 57 per cent and the contribution of mobile telephony has gone upto 63 per cent on December, 2007. Buoyed by the better-than-expected teledensity in 2005 (11.4 per cent against 8.6 per cent in 2004) due to the mobile boom in India, Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has revised the upwards the target of 22 per cent teledensity by 2007.

Broadband connectivity is holding tremendous potential in the country. It is expected that the number of broadband subscribers would reach 20 million by 2010.

India has emerged as the second largest market for mobile handsets. Following the unprecedented growth in the mobile market, a number of companies are planning to set up production base for mobile handsets in the country for meeting local as well as export markets.

Direct to Home (DTH) broadcast service has gained more and more popularity during 2005.

DTH service is available through National Broadcaster and private DTH service provider. Better quality digital broadcast reception is now available almost everywhere in the country to the common people on their TV sets through the use of small dish antenna and a Set-Top Box (STB).

Strategic Electronics

Though the government has started the process of getting private sector involved in the production of strategic electronics equipments, the private involvement is at its nascent stage. The estimated market for strategic electronics in India during 2005-06 was Rs.32 billion and 95 per cent of this was done by the public sector unit Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).

Electronic Components

The total production of components was estimated at Rs. 88 billion during 2005-06. The colour picture tube production is likely to be around 11 million, a decline from 11.2 million in the last year. The production of B&W picture tubes declined further due to decreased market for B&W TVs.

The components with major share in the export are CD-R, CPTs, PCBs, DVD-R, connectors, semiconductor devices, ferrites, resistors, etc.

Significant developments took place during the year in the area of colour picture tubes and colour glass parts. Another CPT manufacturer successfully launched manufacture of pure flat tubes, leading to availability of flat tubes from three indigenous sources. The CPT units continued expansion of capacities to improve further their global competitiveness. Two more lines were commissioned during the year, one for manufacture of large size flat colour picture tubes and the second for small size. Two more lines are likely to come up next year. Keeping pace with the downward trend in prices of color TVs, the prices of CPTs also fell.

Electronics Exports

During the year 2005-06, electronics and IT exports are estimated to be Rs. 1,117 billion, as Compared to Rs. 881.80 billion in 2004-05, showing a phenomenal growth of 27 per cent.

The software and services industry continues to show a robust growth and the total value of software and services export are estimated at Rs. 1032 billion (US$ 23.4 billion) in the year 2005-06, as compared to Rs. 801.80 billion (US$ 17.7 billion) in the year 2004-05, an increase of 32 per cent in dollar terms and 29 per cent in rupee terms.

Some of the key trends that have a positive impact on the sector are:

  • Growing consuming class (defined as people having annual income of US$ 980 (INR 45000 or above) that has greater disposable income and propensity to spend. It has been estimated by NCAER that this group will constitute over 80 per cent of the population of India by 2009-10.
  • Lifestyle changes such as greater exposure to global trends and increasing affinity for convenience and lifestyle products.
  • Increasing urbanization, emergence of nuclear double income families.
  • Low penetration levels of most consumer durables. For example, in 2002, only 66 per cent of middle-income households had a TV set, only 28 per cent of the urban households possessed a refrigerator, while just a little over 15 per cent owned an air cooler. Despite a population of more than 1 billion people, only 16 million computers were used in India in March 2005.
  • Increased government and private industry spending on sectors such as defense and aerospace. The Indian aviation sector, for example, has placed orders for more than 350 aircrafts with a list price of about US$ 26 billion.
  • In recognition of India's domestic market potential, Samsung has selected India as one of the top six strategic markets in the world along with the US, China, Russia, Germany and Thailand.



While the Electronics sector in India is currently small, there are several advantages that India offers that can be effectively leveraged to achieve higher growth. These can be categorized under three heads:

  • Manpower
  • Market Demand
  • Policy and Regulatory Support

Growth in demand of consumer durables such as CTVs, VCD / MP3 players and PCs directly benefits the sector. Also the demand for products such as automobiles, white goods, air-conditioners, textiles, etc, leads to growth in the electronics sector as these products contain a significant number of electronic components. At the same time, consumer demand has boosted growth in India's overall manufacturing sector as well, which, in turn, has a positive impact on industrial electronics. On the whole the domestic market in India is very attractive from the point of view of the electronics sector, and current trends indicate high growth potential for the sector in the future.

Centers of Excellence in Electronic Industry



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Websites referred:


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