The first woolen textile industry (mill) was set up in 1876 at Kanpur because Kanpur was the principal depot for the British Indian Army.
The woolen textiles industry in India is partly a cottage industry and partly a factory industry. The organized sector has three sub-sectors:
- Woolen (superior yarn for fabrics and hosiery);
- Worsted (medium quality goods – blankets, tweeds, suitings etc.);
- Shoddy (for blankets).
Note: Punjab state is the leading producer of wool in India whereas Australia is the largest producer and exporter of wool (Merino) in the world.
Geographical distribution of Woolen Textile Industry in India:
- Most of the woolen textile mills in India are situated in Punjab with Dhariwal being the largest center. The other centers are in Amritsar and Ludhiana.
- The other important centers are Kanpur and Agra in Uttar Pradesh, Jaipur in Rajasthan, Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, Jamnagar in Gujarat, Mumbai in Maharashtra, Bangalore in Karnataka and Srinagar in Kashmir.
- The animal grazers of Jammu & Kashmir such as Bakkarwals and Gaddis of Himachal Pradesh rear sheep and supply wool. So, Jammu & Kashmir is a large producer of handloom woolen goods.
- There are about 958 woolen units in India, the majority of them are in the small-scale sector.
- Central Wool Development Board (CWDB) is located in Jodhpur.