Shri Sanjay Leekha, Managing Director of Alpine Apparels Pvt. Ltd., Faridabad took charge as Chairman of Council for Leather Exports on June 17, 2021. Shri Leekha outlined the current export & market trends and priority areas for the leather, leather products and footwear industry.  

Speaking about export performance Shri Leekha said “After a prolonged period of market slowdown caused by the Covid 19 Pandemic which led to 27.72% decline in export of leather, leather products and footwear from the country during 2020-21, we are back on the growth track with exports from our sector showing impressive resurgence during 2021-22.  As per latest data, export of leather, leather products and footwear increased from USD 146.79 million in April – May 2020 to USD 641.72 million in April – May 2021, registering 337.17% growth. This is a very good beginning for us, which we hope to sustain in the coming months, as India is viewed as a favourite sourcing and investment destination. We thank the Government of India for implementing various support measures to our industry during these difficult Pandemic time”. 

Stressing the importance of digitization, Shri Leekha said “The Pandemic has ushered in or rather intensified the digital era. With increasing prominence of e-commerce platforms and also virtual exhibitions, we must ensure optimum utilisation of the various available digital modes to gain further market access. The Council for Leather Exports (CLE) has organised 12 virtual Buyer Seller Meets/ B2 B events during 2020-21 in more than 17 countries and has planned about 20 events which include participation in VC/ Hybrid international exhibitions, 2 BSMs, 2 Reverse BSMs (Delhi and Kolkata) and one Designers Fair with support under Market Access Initiative Scheme (MAIS) of Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry Govt. of India, depending on the COVID situation. Besides, CLE plans to organise Virtual BSMs/ Webinars in USA, Israel, Guatemala and Germany in co-ordination with Indian Missions concerned, on self financing basis”. 

Speaking about the flagship IFLADP programme, Shri Leekha said “The Indian Footwear and Accessories Development Programme (IFLADP) implemented by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Govt. of India during 2017-21 has played a vital role in modernization and technological up-gradation of production units & CETPs and also skilling of workforce. We have requested the Government to continue  this IFLADP scheme, which is under consideration”

Shri Leekha added “We already have the inherent strengths of traditional knowledge and strong raw material base. With the support of the Government, concerted efforts have been taken in the past years to substantially increase our production capabilities and Common Infrastructure like Design Studios, Testing Laboratories etc., which has helped us in becoming a leading exporter of high quality value added products. With increased focus on design, productivity, eco-sustainability and price competitiveness, we will be able to scale new heights in the coming years”.