Responding to the recent report published by the US Department of Labour on products listed as ‘Made in India by forced child labour’, Dr. A Sakthivel, Chairman, AEPC reiterated that the garment industry of India is deeply engaged in ensuring compliance with the law and that its efforts encompass the informal sector, including home workers, and even facilities serving solely the domestic market.
The AEPC has been following up the case diligently over the past two years and has already submitted all necessary documents to the US DOL for removing Indian apparel from the published list at a public hearing in February 2012 including independent Civil Society data, which says that the national home workers programme being run by Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), UK, has increased transparency in the supply chain by 60%.
Referring to the AEPC pan India programme on social compliance, Driving Industry Towards Sustainable Human Capital Advancement (DISHA), the Chairman pointed out that over 140 enrolments from various apparel clusters have been made so far, with a target to have 400 units in the next one month as the first phase participation.
Even the United States Trade representative (USTR) in letter to the Ministry of Textiles has praised project DISHA and has desired to forge an alliance with the project to work in the area of compliance. “We would like to bring to your notice the fact that the apparel industry in India employs 11.2 million workers. It may be appreciated that monitoring such a work force, with over 80% in the SME sector and large parts in unorganized disintegrated units, makes data generation a challenging job,” concluded Dr. Sakthivel.