With factories shut, shipments stranded and payments delayed, due to Covid–19, the textile and clothing sector is going through dark times indeed. Is there a way out?
According to estimates by Clothing and Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI), the textile sector is looking at a potential job loss of one crore.
However, this is not the first time that this sector has been going through rough patches. In August 2019, the North India Textiles Mills Association issued an advertisement,highlighting that the textile spinning industry is going through the worst financial phases of the decade, with exports of cotton yarn plummeting to 50% in the month of April 2019 as compared to the last year. Prior to this the sector was reeling under the blows of demonetisation, haphazard introduction of GST regime and the 2008 financial crises.
What are the other reasons for the challenges to the sector? First and foremost, the advent of technology has rendered artisans and their skskills outdated. Once famed across the globe as ‘artisans’ who were weaving delicate and dexterous yarn, ‘workers’ have now become one of the biggest concerns of Indian textile manufacturing enterprises.
Secondly, the globalised world has necessitated cost-competitiveness in the textile and clothing manufacturing processes. ‘Economies of scale’ has become the magic formula for nations like China, Bangladesh and Vietnam. According to Indian Ministry of Textiles’ Annual Report of 2018-19 this has resulted in a setback for the largely fragmented textile and clothing value chain in India which produces 70% of its output from small and medium scale industries.
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