My heading this time seems to be quite strong, however, it is nowhere as strong as
needed to aptly describe the current situation of the Industry. While exports of all
other countries are increasing, the garment export industry of India is slowing down.
The revised rate of RoSL and duty drawbacks has affected most exporters and they
fear closures and unemployment on a large scale if the same are not rectified. I
sometimes ask myself if the industry is really going to end. Well, it cannot. No matter
what, such issues are always cyclic; whether slow or fast is just semantics or simply a
matter of time. During this tumultuous phase, I have almost spoken to all types of
exporters, big, small and medium and, for the first time, none of them is happy or
shares a mixed reaction about the current situation. The environment of uncertainty is
definitely engulfing all.
A major concern for exporters right now is the refund of GST, which has blocked their cash flow and forced them to stop taking further orders. There is a huge blockage of liquidity and it is affecting everyone in the supply chain. From job workers to fabric suppliers to workers and machinery providers, everyone is stuck as the money which was flowing and recycling quickly (prior to GST and demonetisation) has suddenly stopped coming back.
Why the situation did not come under control remains a big question. Some are of the opinion that exporters always cry after the damage is done; when times were good, they did not take the precaution of investing in the right people and technology. Others believe that there are a set of exporters who are busy accepting orders and working on calculations in the best possible manner taking this situation as part of the game. For the first time we see even mainline newspapers highlighting and comparing apparel industry’s strength as an employment generator vis-a-vis the biggest company in India, Reliance Industries.
It may be trite to say “Tough Times Come to Teach you Something New.” Interestingly, the apparel industry always gets to see or face the times when correction is due; but while many adapt, most of them ignore the portent.
In this issue, you will read interesting articles on how and what strategies are being followed by the top exporters of India like Orient Craft, Eastman Exports and Pratibha Sytnex. Along with these, you will read the report of a survey which was conducted by a research firm highlighting market sentiments and also offering insights to the future scenario.
Since this issue will be circulated at the upcoming Garment Technology Expo (GTE), you will also read stories and views of people from the technical side sharing their experience, knowledge and expertise on technology and compliance in our apparel industry.
I hope you will enjoy reading this issue and will share your feedback and suggestions on the same.