FROM THE PRESIDENT’S DESK
The 66th National Garment Fair concluded on a high note – with a nearly 30 per cent increase in Retailer Visitors being registered, as compared to the January 2017 Edition. Although there was a slight reduction in the business booked by individual Retailers, the increased inflow resulted in most Participants seeing a far better booking than they had expected. The overall mood of the Visitors, too, saw a greater optimism than many had anticipated. I am keeping my fingers crossed – is this the end of the sluggish period for the Domestic Sector?
Whatever that may be, the Export segment continues to look gloomy. Despite promises being made from every platform, reimbursement of GST and ROSL continues to evade the Exporters; Duty Drawback expectations have not fructified, and the Rupee shows no signs of stabilising at more favourable levels. Some concessions at the State level, especially the Wage subsidies being offered by certain States, will definitely provide some ray of hope, but all in all, the future does not look very bright.
A highlight of the 66th NGF was the visit by the Chief Secretary of Gujarat, Shri J N Singh, whom we have known and worked closely with in his previous assignments as the Textile Commissioner and Joint Secretary. A high level Delegation led by him, and including other senior Bureaucrats as well as Office Bearers of the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce, had a Meeting with some 20-odd members of CMAI to promote the new Apparel Policy announced by the State Government. The speed of response, and immediate decision making was really impressive, and certainly indicative of the much talked about work culture in the Gujarat Bureaucracy.
The CMAI APEX Awards 2018 were also held on Day One of the NGF, and it was good to see nearly 600 Members, Retailers, and Industry Stalwarts being present to recognise, applaud, and appreciate the Winners at the Event. And the Winners rightly represented the who’s who of the Industry – with due recognition being given to all segments: Small, Medium, and Large Players.
The highlight of the Awards Night was the acceptance speech of the recipient of CMAI’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Shri Sanjay Lalbhai. The man behind the revival of the Arvind Group in the 80s, the man who introduced Denim Manufacturing for the first time in India, and the man behind the conversion of Arvind Group from being merely a Fabric Manufacturer to being one of India’s largest Garment Manufacturers, a Brand Owner, a Retailer, and an Exporter – Sanjaybhai gave an inspiring speech to the spellbound Audience on his vision for the Apparel and Textile Industry of India, and why he firmly believes that the future is for us to create.
By the time you receive this edition, the CMAI Index Report would have been with you, which very accurately shows a decent improvement in performance over the same quarter, last year. This is understandable, since the third quarter of 2016-17 had the demonetisation period as a part of it. It is also accurately showing a better performance of the Giant and Large Companies as compared to the Smaller players, which is what most anecdotal reports appear to indicate. The Index has also now incorporated a section on how the Industry is looking at the next quarter, and it is heartening to note that most respondents seem to be optimistic.
The Budget contained no major announcements connected with the Textile or Apparel Industry, although I believe that the measures announced for the upliftment of the Rural Economy will have a positive effect on the off-take of Garments, especially in the Tier-II and Tier-III towns.
Here’s hoping that the planned investments and schemes actually do get implemented!