Tak­ing Re­spon­si­bil­ity

The Cloth­ing Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­a­tion of In­dia (CMAI) has been driv­ing the growth of the In­dian Ap­parel In­dus­try for years. The Du­ties and the Re­spon­si­bil­i­ties un­der­taken by the As­so­ci­a­tion have grad­u­ally ex­panded and di­ver­si­fied to ac­com­mo­date the growi

Apparel - - Contents -

A pro­file of CMAI’s Cor­po­rate So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­ity (CSR) sub-com­mit­tee


The Cor­po­rate So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­ity (CSR) divi­sion of CMAI was cre­ated ten years ago for the ben­e­fit of the work­ers of the gar­ment in­dus­try. Headed by a se­nior mem­ber of the Cloth­ing Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­a­tion of In­dia, Mr V M Kulka­rni, many health­care ac­tiv­i­ties for the work­ers and valu­able ini­tia­tives for var­i­ous so­cial causes have been un­der­taken by the CSR divi­sion.

Speak­ing about the start of this project, Mr Kulka­rni said, “The CSR arm of the CMAI was founded in 2007, to aid and ben­e­fit the var­i­ous work­ers of the cloth­ing In­dus­try. The in­au­gu­ral ac­tiv­i­ties were car­ried out in Mum­bai, in the form of three eye check-up camps in April 2007 at Ashish In­dus­trial Es­tate in Dadar, In­ter­link In­dus­trial Es­tate in Jo­gesh­wari, and at Saibaba Mandir Com­pound, Malad Shop­ping Cen­tre, Malad.” The camps were con­ducted by CMAI in as­so­ci­a­tion with Vi­sion Foun­da­tion of In­dia, a Non-Gov­ern­men­tal Or­gan­i­sa­tion work­ing for Eye Care Ser­vices of the poor­est of the poor of so­ci­ety.

Mr Kulka­rni said, “In these camps, we re­alised that 75 per cent of the work­ers needed spec­ta­cles and 54 were suf­fer­ing from cataracts. Some of them worked in very poor light and their eye­sight was af­fected, so this was a much needed ac­tiv­ity.” 139 work­ers were re­ferred to the char­i­ta­ble hos­pi­tal run by Vi­sion Foun­da­tion of In­dia at Bab­ul­nath, for fur­ther fol­low-up.

In the camps, elec­tronic checks were car­ried out by a team of oph­thal­mol­o­gists. A to­tal of 1,815 work­ers at­tended the camps and 1,098 spec­ta­cles were given free-of-charge to the needy. “We con­ducted more such camps in Bel­lary, Ban­ga­lore and Peenya In­dus­trial es­tates in sub­se­quent years,” he said.


The CMAI had set up a blood do­na­tion Camp at the 62nd Na­tional Gar­ment Fair (NGF). Speak­ing about this ini­tia­tive, Mr Mo­han Sad­hwani, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of CMAI said, “The blood do­na­tion camp was for a so­cial cause. The CMAI pro­vided the space, set-up and pro­moted the Blood Do­na­tion drive which was or­gan­ised in as­so­ci­a­tion with Tata Hos­pi­tal, Depart­ment of Trans­fu­sion Medicine, wherein it was an ap­peal to the guests, ex­hibitors and vis­i­tors at the NGF to do­nate blood. The camp was set up for two days dur­ing the Jan­uary event and the donors were given a blood card, which will be use­ful to them in time of need.”


Since the past few years, CMAI’s man­ag­ing com­mit­tee mem­bers have been ap­peal­ing to chil­dren’s cloth­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers and brands to do­nate their sur­plus stock, which is then given to an or­gan­i­sa­tion called ‘ Salaam Baalak Trust’

that works for street chil­dren. Talk­ing about the same, Mr Sad­hwani said, “Till date, we have sent them al­most 1500 pieces. These are un­used and un­dam­aged clothes which are col­lected by CMAI and sent to them and brands like Gini & Jony, many kidswear man­u­fac­tur­ers, as well as fash­ion in­sti­tutes like B D So­mani have come for­ward to do­nate clothes for these kids.”

“We col­lect these clothes once a year or once in two years and send them to Salaam Baalak Trust. All the man­u­fac­tures and brands are al­ways more than happy to con­trib­ute to this cause,” he said.


Speak­ing about CMAI’s com­mit­ment to the so­ci­ety, Kulka­rni said, “Even be­fore the CSR com­mit­tee was formed, the CMAI had made con­tri­bu­tions to the vic­tims of the Bhuj Earth­quake and the 2004 Tsunami. We col­lected fab­rics, cloth­ing, and what­ever was nec­es­sary and avail­able from our mem­bers and sent them to the af­fected ar­eas. We did the same for the re­cent Chen­nai floods. In­dus­try mem­bers from these ar­eas are roped in and the work to­wards these so­cial causes is car­ried out with their help.”


In 2018, CMAI plans to re­vive the CSR divi­sion to chart out a cal­en­dar of events with a fo­cus on Health and Ed­u­ca­tion ac­tiv­i­ties, keep­ing in mind the needs of the work­ers.

Elu­ci­dat­ing this ini­tia­tive, Mr Kulka­rni said, “All these years we have been car­ry­ing out ran­dom ac­tiv­i­ties from time to time, but from this year on­wards we are go­ing to have a cal­en­dar of events like eye-check up camps, health check-up camps and su­per­vi­sory train­ing.”

Ex­pound­ing on these ac­tiv­i­ties he said, “Start­ing this year we are plan­ning to do one health check-up camp in Mum­bai and one out­side Mum­bai, ev­ery year. We would like to take our eye and health check up drive to places like So­la­pur in Ma­ha­ras­tra, Tamil Nadu, and In­dore in Mad­hya Pradesh, where there are a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of small-scale in­dus­tries. In the forth­com­ing year, we will be car­ry­ing out ac­tiv­i­ties in these three places, as well as iden­ti­fy­ing more places where we can take such camps, for the ben­e­fit of the work­ers in those ar­eas.”

“The prob­lem of eye­sight is very crit­i­cal since the work­ers have to strain their eyes while work­ing on gar­ments. This process dam­ages their eyes and af­fects not only them but also the pro­duc­tiv­ity and the longevity of the labour­ers, stunt­ing their con­tri­bu­tion to the pro­duc­tion cy­cle. In such places, we will be ed­u­cat­ing the fac­tory own­ers about ap­pro­pri­ate light­ing in the work­place, so that the work­ers don’t have to work in poorly lit con­di­tions,” he said. In the fu­ture, CSR will also con­duct blood check-up camps for the work­ers so that cases of di­a­betes or high BP can be di­ag­nosed. Work­ers with ail­ments will be di­rected to char­i­ta­ble hos­pi­tals, where CMAI will as­sist in their med­i­ca­tion.


With a fo­cus on ed­u­cat­ing the cur­rent work­force to up­grade them­selves, the CSR unit is keen on start­ing a Work­ers Train­ing Pro­gramme.

Ex­plain­ing the idea, Mr Kulka­rni said, “We are think­ing of start­ing pro­grammes to up­grade the work­ers by train­ing them, so that they can be­come em­ploy­able on an up­per grade as su­per­vi­sors. Good work­ers with suf­fi­cient ed­u­ca­tional back­ground will be picked out and trained through these pro­grammes. We are plan­ning to start this from the month of April this year. The first of these train­ing ses­sions will hap­pen at our As­meeta Ap­parel Park, in Kalyan.”

CMAI is also look­ing at rop­ing in young in­di­vid­u­als who are will­ing to make a ca­reer in the gar­ment in­dus­try by in­tro­duc­ing new pro­grammes for them. Re­gard­ing this, Mr Kulka­rni said, “We are think­ing of start­ing short cour­ses of around 6 to 8 months for fresh grad­u­ates from the Science stream, or Diploma hold­ers, and train them so that they can be­come em­ploy­able in the ap­parel in­dus­try. They will be trained in work-study meth­ods, ef­fi­ciency re­quire­ments, pro­duc­tiv­ity cal­cu­la­tions, etc. Ac­cord­ing to this model, we will also give them an op­por­tu­nity to earn some stipend while they are learn­ing. The struc­ture will be such that four hours will be for learn­ing and four hours would be for work­ing on the fac­tory floor. As a CSR ini­tia­tive, these cour­ses will be sub­sidised and more af­ford­able com­pared to other in­sti­tutes, so that it is ac­ces­si­ble for stu­dents from hum­ble back­grounds. The train­ing cen­tres will also be lo­cated around gar­ment hubs. We are in the process of de­vel­op­ing this model and start­ing these pro­grammes by mid 2018.”


In pur­suit of its com­mit­ment to so­cial causes and in line with its de­clared ob­jec­tive of giv­ing back to the Gar­ment In­dus­try, the CMAI is work­ing con­tin­u­ously on its CSR ini­tia­tives, and is ded­i­cated to keep do­ing it in the fu­ture.

The Cor­po­rate So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­ity (CSR) sub-com­mit­tee of CMAI has taken small but vi­tal steps in the past to ful­fil their re­spon­si­bil­ity to­wards the in­dus­try and so­ci­ety through med­i­cal camps, do­na­tions and calamity sup­port. This year, with new plans, the CMAI is all set to re­vive CSR ini­tia­tives with ear­marked events.

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