Hosiery Industry expected to grow 10x in coming 25 years


15 November 2022, Mumbai:

November 12, 2022, historic happiness day for the Hosiery Industry across India. FOHMA members have come from various cities to commemorate 50 years. Today, everyone is united and determined to ensure the hosiery industry achieves its full potential and develops vigorously.

Many countries around the world are constrained to import apparel from China as a result of the world's largest power race, the Ukraine war, and other factors. USA, Europe, the UK, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, etc., and many other countries want to increase imports from India instead of China. India utilizes this opportunity to increase its exports.

It is the order of the Hon'ble Prime Minister. To develop apparel exports taking benefit of various schemes such as “Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas” which is all-inclusive development, "Make in India”, and “Self-Reliant India”, the hosiery industry should move forward and increase exports.

Bangladesh exports 7-8 times more apparel and hosiery goods than the whole of India from across the other side of the border of West Bengal. So how and why has Calcutta, where the first hosiery factory was set up 130 years ago in Khidirpur, lagged behind?

In 1992, at the hosiery centenary celebrations, the then Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu and the then Textiles Minister Ashok Gehlot set the goal of making Calcutta a Hosiery- Garment cluster like Tirupur, but that has also almost yet to happen. Since Honourable Modi ji, is now there, it is possible to make it happen. “Modi Hai to Mumkin Hain”.

During the same period, hosiery production has grown in Delhi NCR, Ludhiana, and Bangalore during the last 30 years, but there is much more yet to happen. Jaipur, Indore, Pune, Kanpur, Varanasi, Nagpur, Surat, Bhubaneswar, Guwahati, Patna, and Ranchi can also move ahead. Encouraged by the development scheme of PLI in many states and the central government the investors and Industry move forward.

New, enthusiastic youth should come forward to take up responsibilities to ensure FOHMA all round quick development of the hosiery industry and make India the world's largest hosiery producer and exporter. Use new technology and increase development-oriented work. AEPC and FOHMA both were partners in the garment industry’s demand for the establishment of AEPC.

FOHMA should get due active representation in AEPC and other institutions. FOHMA should organize exhibitions and organize delegations for industry contacts abroad. Be a part of effective research projects and programmes.

FOHMA had made significant efforts to demand the establishment of a separate Ministry of Textiles as well as that it should have a rank of a cabinet minister. Hon'ble Modi Ji's government should give effective focus to the development of the hosiery, apparel, and textile industry with the same focus strength as by governments such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Turkey, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka. West Bengal and other states should also extend all kind of cooperation in the development journey of the hosiery industry.

I have full faith that the Modi government, Honourable Textiles Minister Goyal Saheb, Honourable Minister Jardosh Ji, and Textile Commissioner will provide all kinds of help to the Hosiery Industry, and enthusiastic young colleagues will try every possible opportunity. For the last few years, with the price increase of 250% in cotton fiber in past nine to ten months, the entire textile industry has been tremendously affected and exports fell drastically.

The world's largest cotton and commodity traders have made huge profits from speculation and hoarding. Future trading was banned for seven items that had much lesser price hikes than cotton, but cotton future trading was not banned. Why? In a personal meeting with Hon'ble Goyal Ji, I had myself made such a request.

Please halt trading in cotton futures on the MCX, otherwise, bookies may become active again in the current year. Then what will happen? The Ministry of Textiles has recently also advised the industry to secure cotton requirements to be safe side, but what does it signals?  

Despite India's overall industrial development, even after 75 years of independence, more than 80% of the sewing needles, sewing machines, knitting machines, processing machinery, and knitting needles and host other items used by the hosiery industries are imported from China and Taiwan at very high prices.

Till everything is imported nothing of these items in India. Self-reliant India such import substitution by proposing manufacturing in India by European brands or its China- Taiwan versions may be a big help to meet the Industry’s growing needs for Capital goods and consumables.

The CCI's role in the last 18 months was erroneous. The purpose of setting up CCI was something else, and something else has happened. The CCI was established to stabilize the price of cotton and not to make profits.

CCI should always maintain a stock of 1 crore bales, and it should continue to do so in coming years as well to do so. The industry will develop at the right pace only when cotton is no longer subject to import duties, cotton exports are stopped, or a 20% export duty is imposed on it. The outstanding dues of schemes like TUFF, Target Plus, Incremental Export, etc., should be disbursed immediately.

The development incentive scheme should be simple, and their approval and payment should be expedited. This would be possible with Modi Ji’s blessings and with the help of the Textile Ministry. Ensure representation of FOHMA in NIFT, the Skill Development Corporation, Export Promotion Councils, Research Institution, SITRA, NITRA, BITRA and CITI to lead them towards effective functioning in India.

Trade missions abroad should collaborate and cooperate with industry and trade more effectively. Free trade agreements with the USA, Canada, Japan, Europe, South Korea, and the UK should be done soon. This will further boost the Hosiery Industry’s exports. Once again, the Indian government should allow export income to be tax-free for ten years. Keep every new industry's income tax-free for five years. Investing in shares in such a new industry should qualify the shareholder for a tax rebate on the value of the investment done.

This will increase the government's revenue and never decrease it. Withdraw the proposal to increase the GST rate on hosiery and apparels from 5% slab. The government knows the reason that is cyclical economic boost. 

We all have to come forward for the hosiery and garment industry to grow tenfold in size by the next 25 years when we celebrate the Independence centenary of the nation. With Modi Government’s cooperation; it is possible to meet this goal.

To increase Cotton farmers' income by increasing cotton farm yield four times, equal to the world level but not by raising cotton prices. Respected Textile Minister Goyal ji has formed the Cotton Mission Committee, which will show the way to long-term adoption of good cotton farming practices to grow high yielding more oily cotton, and other methods under the guidance of Honourable Prime Minister Modi Ji.

We wholeheartedly welcome this initiative. As you are all aware that I had worked with Shri Harkishore Jain, Shanti Banerjee, and Mohan Kandhaswamy, D.D.Kothari Ji and other colleagues from inception of FOHMA and made every effort collaboratively to strengthen activities of FOHMA for 20 years that is 1972 to 1992.

I would have been happy to be among you all today but could not do because of adverse health and advanced age, for that I seek your pardon. I express my gratitude for this opportunity to reach out to you through my son-in-law Sanjay Ji and daughter Jyoti Ji. Both of them continue to be active allies in your development journey.

I would like to thank Honourable Minister and to guests and all.

(Courtesy: Addressed By- Rikhab Chand Jain, Former President, FOHMA Chairman - T.T. Group; This speech is a transcript of the address of the Former President of the Federation of Hosiery Associations of India, delivered at its Golden Jubilee Celebrations at Hotel Taj Bengal, Kolkata on 12th November 2022)

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