As new Covid-19 infections in the country decline, migrant workers have started returning in droves to the textile exporting hubs in Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, bringing cheer to the industry which is seeing a 25-30% increase in export orders from the previous year.

Apparel exporters said they expect the order position to reach the pre-pandemic level by the third quarter of FY22.
Tirupur is one of the largest textile export hubs in the country. About half of the 600,000 people working in the city’s garment cluster are migrant labourers, mostly from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha and Jharkhand. The other centres are Erode, Salem and Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, and Noida in Uttar Pradesh.

“A large chunk of migrant workers has returned. And some are on their way too,” K Selvaraju, secretary general of the Southern India Mills Association (SIMA), told ET. “The situation of labour availability is not that bad as it was last year, when a complete lockdown was declared.”

Aiding the return of migrant workers is the end of sowing of kharif crops, which has freed up farm hands to travel back to their cities of work to resume their daily wage earning.

The SIMA executive said the order position for garments and made-ups from the global markets is robust. “It is more than 25-30% compared to last year. Soon, we will reach a pre-pandemic level of exports,” he said.