The Clothing Manufacturers Association of India has appealed to the Maharashtra government not to hinder economic recovery by shutting down garment factories once more as it is the lifeline of the state. In a press release issued by the Association, Rajesh Masand, President, CMAI has said, increasing number of COVID-19 cases in state and Mumbai in particular is a matter of great concern, and we compliment the Maharashtra government for taking immediate and necessary steps to control further spread of COVID 19.
Factory shutdown to delay economic recovery
However, it is equally critical not to allow the economic recovery to collapse once again by shutting down garment factories, which are the lifeline of the state. Masand stated, the garment industry was severely hit by the pandemic last year – as retail, which is the lifeline of garment industry, was one of the last sectors to reopen. It has taken the industry close to a year to regain some semblance of pre-COVID business levels. Even now the industry has just about touched 70 per cent of pre-COVID levels and another lockdown will completely kill the garment industry in the state.
Masand reiterated, there are 18,000 garment factories in Maharashtra, 10,000 of which are in Mumbai. The garment industry employs 1.3 million people in Maharashtra, of these, six lakh workers are employed in just Mumbai.
Risk of relocating to other states
The garment industry is spread all over India, and it will not take too long for buyers to move to factories outside Maharashtra if units in the state are shut. Manufacturing in some of these states is also less expensive and current GST regime enables buyers to buy from other states easily. Further, it will be impossible to get workers back once they return to their homes, which could further hinder restarting factories.
This may also cause garment production to move out of Maharashtra, Masand warned. He urged the government to look at other alternatives like strict enforcement of COVID preventive measures. CMAI is also educating members to maintain self-discipline in running their units and offices, Masand informed. He assured full support to the government in all its endeavours.