FROM THE PRES­I­DENT’S DESK

Apparel - - Contents -

Dear Friends,

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!

RAHUL ME­HTA

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