The Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI), is one of the oldest and largest Association representing the Garment Manufacturing and Retail industries, with close to 4,500 members serving to the Domestic Apparel Industry since its inception in 1963.

In a Press Release issued by the Association, Mr Rajesh Masand, President, CMAI  stated that in the midst of Covid pandemic last year, CMAI had interacted with Shri Uddhav Thackeray, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra , Shri. Aditya Thackeray, Shri. Subhash Desai, Hon’ble Minister of Tourism & Environment and Hon’ble Minister of Industries, Govt of Maharashtra , respectively and several concerned Officers on various occasions, especially dealing with reopening of Garment Factories in Mumbai and other cities of Maharashtra.

Mr Masand, pointed out that it is with a growing sense of unease that we are once again reading reports of the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra and Mumbai in particular. Undoubtedly, this is a matter of great concern, and we compliment the Maharashtra Government for taking immediate and necessary steps to control the further spread of Covid 19. However, it is also disturbing to hear reports about the Government contemplating reintroducing Lockdowns as a means to control the virus.

Whilst it is essential to achieve the objective of controlling the spread, Mr Masand urged that it is equally critical not to allow the Economic recovery to once again collapse by shutting down the Factories, which are the lifeline of the State.

Mr Masand further stated that the Garment Industry has been particularly severely hit by the pandemic last year – as Retail, which is the lifeline of Garment industry, was one of the last Sectors to be opened up. It has taken the Industry close to a year to regain at least some semblance of pre- Covid business levels. Even now our industry, unlike many others, has just about touched 70% of pre-Covid levels. To go into another Lockdown will completely kill the Garment Industry of Maharashtra.

Mr Masand also reiterated that there are 18,000 Garment Factories in Maharashtra, 10,000 of which are in Mumbai. The Garment Industry employs 1.3 million people in Maharashtra, and of these, 6 lakh workers are employed in Mumbai itself.

Mr Masand emphasised that, the Garment Industry is spread all over India, and it will not take too long for Buyers to move to Factories outside Maharashtra if production is not available in Maharashtra. As it is, manufacturing in some of the other States is less expensive due to lower cost of Production.  The current GST regime also unable Buyers of Maharashtra to buy from outside easily and cheaper.

He further added that it will also be impossible to get all the workers back once they have gone back to their home towns – making the restarting of factories all the more difficult. Shutting down of factories will impact not only workers from outside the State but also the local workers.

Considering the above factors, Mr Masand fears that it is very possible that Production of Garments will move out of Maharashtra and shift to other States.

Mr Masand also urged the Government that it is therefore absolutely essential that the Government should look at all other routes, including and primarily a very strict enforcement of Covid preventive measures, but not look at Reimposing a Lockdown as an option. Mumbai has been the hub of the Garment Industry of the Country, and we have to ensure it continues to remain so.

Mr Masand further stated that CMAI in its capacity as the leading Association of the Garment Industry is already taking measures to Educate and impress upon our Members to maintain self-discipline in the running of their Factories and Offices. He assured full support to the Government in all its endeavours in any way possible. The Association has already urged its Members to strictly adhere to the SOP issued by the Govt of Maharashtra