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Opinion: Support to Industry in air! Is it political pressure or has Govt. realised the ground realities?

by Dheeraj Tagra

04-March-2019  |  6 mins read

Apparel Industry
Image Courtesy: Apparel Resources

Nothing political

HKL Magu, Chairman, Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC), Gurgaon

It seems that soon we shall get some positive announcement from Government, especially regarding embedded taxes that were not refunded to us earlier. Under the present circumstances, we can expect the refunding of the taxes. Basically, this is not an incentive but will help us a lot. Margins are really thin and everybody has financial crunch, so it is not possible to survive without support. There is nothing political in this as support is very much required in this difficult scenario and we have requested for this time and again.

Loganathan, MD, AKR Textiles, Tirupur

I don’t see that there is any political angle or something like that… Overall India’s total apparel export is not growing. There are challenges on all fronts, so various associations of our industry at various levels have made many presentations to the Government. Even during our Prime Minister’s Tirupur visit, apparel exporters shared their concerns with him. So, our Government is well aware of the issues and challenges of our industry and we are hopeful that there will be some relief. Even a special package of Rs. 6,000 crore was announced by the Government almost two years ago, which was a good effort to create the balance in favour of our industry. However today, there is a huge imbalance as Bangladesh is receiving many benefits due to its GSP status while India is still in the process of finalising FTA.

Pranab Mahajan, Director, Mahajan Overseas, Panipat

I strongly feel that there is nothing political behind the positive and expected announcement. I don’t see any connection between such official decision and upcoming elections. We are quite hopeful that some relief will be announced soon. There is a turmoil in the global economy, be it UK’s struggle on Brexit, US’s emergency on US-Mexican wall, etc.

In India, the textile industry has a good share in employment generation as well as in GDP. Even the housing/real estate sector is not performing well, and due to this, liquidation is becoming a challenge. Though there is demand in the domestic market, people are expanding selectively. So looking at all these and many other such points, our Government must have realised that the textile industry definitely needs strong and urgent support which has no relation with the upcoming election.

No high hopes

Rajiv Dewan, President, Garment Exporters Association of Rajasthan (GEAR), Jaipur

Sorry, so far there is not enough help from the Government and I don’t have any high hope that the Government will support us as per our requirements. Even in the last five years, whatever support or announcement has been given or done by the Government, has not proved to be beneficial. How we (Indian exporters) can be competitive when our competitor countries like Myanmar and Vietnam are receiving huge incentives of 45 per cent and Bangladesh and China are already ahead of us? Naturally, incentive is a must for survival. We will be more than happy and thankful to our Government if they take initiatives to uplift the Indian garment industry. As of now, there is a suffocation level in the industry. We are really looking for Government’s co-operation to be at par with other countries.

Reduce dependency on Govt.

Dalpat Lodha, Chairman, Lodha Impex, Jaipur

I personally think that we should not depend much on incentives. If the Government gives any facility, it is more than welcome but how much can the Government really do. Many years ago, Indian exporters used to get high incentives (nearly 40 per cent) which is now comparatively negligible but export has grown despite the decreasing incentives.

Support matters, be it due to election pressure or else…

Ravikumar, CEO, Indian Designs Exports, Bangalore

To be honest, it really doesn’t matter whether the proposed ‘more incentives’ have their roots in the forthcoming elections or whether the Government has realised that the industry is slowly suffering. The fact remains that incentives are a must for the garment industry at present.

Rajeev Bansal, MD, Celestial Knits & Fabs, Noida

Only Government can answer rightly this question as to whether it has realised the sufferings of this sector and the support it needs or if this is just a political stunt as general elections are going to happen soon. I can say that both aspects have equal probability. The Government has complete feedback through official data or industry representation or any other source… In fact, irrespective of whether our industry gets any support or not, we should welcome such incentives.