The light at the end of the tunnel is the special package, which the current government has not only repeated but also raised it for giving a fillip to the apparel export.
While externally, Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with European Union (EU) needs to be finalised, the Indian government also needs to look into fast track approval processes, refinement of labour laws, and exit policies. The government also needs to identify and remove the bottlenecks to push faster trade for boosting Indian apparel exports.
Experts also suggest that upgrading the product by manufacturing higher value products in terms of design, fabrics, raw material; and by going over and above the expectation of buyers, are the only ways to move forward. They also pin point earnest improvement in value chain, comfort, and related areas.
The positive response of foreign buyers to various Indian garment fairs has provided enough proof of the global interest in Indian garments. India can retain its competitiveness in the global market by including cotton yarn under the Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS) and by providing ROSL (Rebate of State Levies) for fabrics, which the government has paid attention to in the budget for the current fiscal.
The good news for the industry is that the government has also provided higher capital subsidy under Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (TUFS) to weaving and garmenting units against the subsidies to spinning units for encouraging the export of value-added products.
Also, during 2012 and 17, India trained 1.5 million people in the textile sector. The Ministry of Textiles, under its Integrated Skill Development
Scheme (ISDS) developed a pool of skilled labour for the textile industry, which is a limitation in Bangladesh and Vietnam. Export-oriented apparel industry provides significant opportunity for employment creation due to relatively low skill requirement. A push to textile industry export will boost employment generation as well.
The Textile Ministry with Finance and Commerce Ministries are looking at the concerns of the industry and exporters via committees for suitable course correction, the statement by HKL Magu, the Chairman of Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC), says.
The industry insiders believe that direct marketing, brand building, and immediate customer service need to be bolstered. Small domestic firms have shown adequate strength in upgrading their products but they are no match to bigger firms in terms of process and functional updates.
However the emergence of disposable income, setting up bigger firms, integration with global value chains, government incentives in infrastructure combined with value for money, upgrading the products and processes will ensure the future of garment industry in India.