Surat Textile Industry Revival post lockdown & Need for Improved Labour availability

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Background

  • Surat is the largest domestic consumption centre of man-made yarns & fibres, with fabric production of over 3.5 Crs. Mtrs/day.
  • Textile Industry is a major employment provider in Surat with around 450 Process houses, 850 Warp Knitting Machines, 1600 Circular Knitting Machinea, 78000 Auto looms & ~ 6.6 Lakh Plain Power looms in operation, with around 177 Textile markets operating fully in a normal situation.
  • Majority textile industry in Surat operates in a fragmented and decentralized way with SME sector units forming bulk of the Production capacities. Approx. 10-12 Lakhs Migrant labourers, majorly from the states of Bihar, Rajasthan, Odisha & Uttar Pradesh, have a significant role in the Surat textile industry operations.

Impact of Covid-19 Lockdown on Surat Industry

  • Textile Industry in Surat remained practically shut from March last week till end of May-20, due to lockdowns to prevent spread of covid-19.
  • Majority of the migrant labours returned to their native states during the lockdown period.
  • Phased relaxations in lockdown from end May-20 resulted in partial start-up of textile units in Surat. However, operating rates of all the segments remained very low due to lack of retail demand and unavailability of migrant labour.
  • Some clusters of Textile units produced Masks & PPE gears during the lockdown, for govt orders, with  minimum available labour.

Slow Paced Operations Revival Post Unlock Phase 1

  • With Unlock Phase 1 starting from June’20, textile units across India re-started their operations.
  • Surat, however has been the slowest in terms of revival of operations and started gaining marginal pace only in second fortnight of Aug’20.
  • Other Major textile Markets have improved their operational efficiencies significantly with Tarapur, Silvassa (Knitting based operations) at ~60-70%, Bhiwandi/Ichalkaranji/Malegaon at ~50-70%, Northern markets of Ludhiana & Panipat (Mink & Shearing based) operations at ~70-75%, Bhilwara, Mau, Tanda & Varanasi at 50-60% & even Southern markets of Elastic Tape, Weaving, Knitting & Garmenting in Tirupur, Erode, Karur & Salem at around 65% operations.
  • Surat Operations are still reeling at 30 % in Plain Power looms, 35 % in Warp knitting, 50% in Circular knitting & processing and around 60% in the Waterjet, Rapier & Air Jet segment.
  • Slow paced reverse labour migration is a major limiting factor for Surat Industry operations revival, and the Industry apex bodies like ‘SGCCI’ & other Industrial & Textile Market associations need to take up this issue with local administration & ‘Govt. of Gujarat’ on priority basis.
  • Surat industry is at the risk of losing its leadership position in the Indian textile industry due to this delayed operational revival, and fast track reverse migration is the need of the hour.

Recommendation

  • We recommend to fast track the process of reverse labour migration with increased availability of rail, road & other Public transport options from the states of Bihar, Odisha, Rajasthan & Uttar Pradesh.
  • This step is very crucial to improve the labour availability situation in de-centralised textile business and regain the domestic leadership position in textile market as in the Pre-covid-19 Era.

ASHISH GUJARATI

PRESIDENT PANDESARA WEAVERS
CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY LTD