China's declining credibility in world market, a golden opportunity for Indian textile industry

By Ajit K Jha

Noida (Uttar Pradesh) [India], May 14 (ANI): As the textile industry is witnessing a steep downturn globally due to adverse economic impact of COVID-19, the Indian textile industry while fearing to lose out on the orders from the buyers is also seeing an opportunity to get a boost as the businesses have started diverting from China amid the corona crisis.

When asked about the prospects of Indian textile industry, Nikhil Thukral, Director, Maharana of India, told ANI that as an 'anti-China' wave is being seen after the spread of coronavirus, the businesses are diverting, which is a good opportunity for the Indian market.

"The Indian market is in bad condition but I think we have hope because a lot of people have faced problems due to China. An anti-China wave is also going on across the world. Some governments like Japan and the US in order to push their industry out of China, are making arrangements. I think India will be a good option. If that wave comes to India in the coming years, India will stand in a much better position," said Nikhil.

He continued stating that they are engaged in making personal protective equipment (PPE) kits for the healthcare workers and doctors currently.

"Practically no work has taken place in the last 50 days. So, we were at our home only. Since the last one and a half or two weeks, after receiving some respite we started developing PPE kits. First one week or ten days, I was studying the technology and how do we deal with this," added Nikhil.

He said that this is something new for the textile industry and it is very much different from the fashion garment, which they usually make.

"This is totally a new type of system. It is very crucial from the safety point of view. It is not a fashion garment. We work in the field of fashion garment but this is a very technical garment. Its specifications and quality are much more important because if something goes wrong, it can affect the health of a health worker or a doctor," he added.

Nikhil said that there are different bio-safety levels on which they are working, after studying PPE kits. It is something new for them from the business point of view.

"The scenario has changed a lot from the last 10 to 15 days. We have started developing these kits. My other friends in this industry are also doing the same in Noida. It's not about profit at this moment. It is about running our factory and more than that in the fight against COVID-19, we have now become a medium. We are also in this battle now, which is in itself a good thing," said Nikhil.

On being asked about the shortage of staff and management amid the COVID-19 crisis, Nikhil said that they are managing the situation somehow, which is still in process.

"It is an extremely difficult situation. We are somehow managing. It will take time. We have to manage a lot many things in the future as well because we are not seeing any orders coming for fashion garments. We mostly work with Europe and the US firms and they are suffering. Hopefully, India's condition remains fine," said Nikhil.

Speaking about the kind of requirement of the garment in future, Nikhil said that fashion will continue to stay in the market and the need for clothes will surely remain but the demand will be less.

"A lot of things are going to change now. We are talking about sustainable future and organic fabric. We are working on recycled polyester. So, I think people will be more conscious. Only fashion won't work. Sustainable fashion will come into the frame as well. People will think and buy. So, the market will witness a lot of changes," said Nikhil.

As a young entrepreneur, Nikhil while speaking about business planning said that everybody needs a re-planning. "If we have targets, then there is a need to work more aggressively on them."

Speaking to ANI about Rs 3 lakh crore collateral-free automatic loans for businesses including MSMEs announced by the Centre yesterday, Lalit Thukral, president, Noida Apparel Exports Cluster (NAEC), said: "UP is a state with a maximum number of MSMEs operating on a very large scale. Everyone is happy with the economic package announced by the Government but the Centre will also have to see that a lot of people have to pay bank instalments. So they'll be receiving money after cutting the respective amount. The Centre has to give more than Rs 3 lakh crore, according to me."

MSME is the only sector that will boost the Indian economy, he added.

"We have over 3,000 units in Gautam Buddh Nagar, creating garments and exporting them. There are over 1000 garments exporters here. Due to COVID-19 crisis, the garment business has been hit adversely. It was our peak season for exporting garments. Our deliveries take place only for four months," said Lalit.

"When China was hit by COVID-19, a lot of businesses diverted and came to India from there. So here everyone's capacity was full. They received double orders. We were working day and night. When the lockdown was imposed here, our work was also shut. All the malls and stores were shut. So many buyers cancelled their orders due to which exporters have suffered a lot," he added.

Speaking about the stuck payments and orders amid the COVID-19 crisis, Lalit said that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has permitted them to work on the garments on which they were already working and start shipping them.

"Only 1.5 month is left for shipping and Noida is in the red zone. So, we did approach Chief Minister Yogi regarding this issue and told him that a loss of around Rs six to seven thousand crore will be incurred by us if we do not export the garments in this period. We suggested him to allow work on the half-prepared garments and ship them, and he permitted us for the same," said Lalit.

"Garments worth Rs 1,500 crore to Rs 2,000 crore will be shipped this month. This is not a profit. Rather we will not incur the losses. Buyers have started approaching again as the work here has started. Some brands have cancelled the orders and are not reverting for the payments. They should be more responsible," he added.

Lalit continued saying that the Chairman of Apparel Export Promotion Council A Shakti has personally written the letter to every buyer and CEO. In fact, Textile Minister Smriti Irani has sent videos to the buyers stating that they can defer the payments and orders but not to cancel the orders as it is about 22 million people, who will adversely be affecting.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said to go global from local and we will do it. We are developing PPE kits. Around 22,000 to 24,000 kits are being made every day in Noida. 25,000 kits will be made daily in the next 10 days. We will make one lakh piece kits every day in Noida in next one month. This is the city of apparel and we are with PM Modi. I am sure that the government will be asking us to export PPE kits within the next three to four months," said Lalit.

"In Noida cluster, on behalf of Noida industry, we are providing food to 5000 to 6000 people daily. We are also distributing ration to around 50,000 families, as per our target this month. We are giving preference to the people, who do not have ration cards," added Lalit.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday announced a series of liquidity measures for millions of small businesses reeling under the impact of COVID-19 lockdown, including collateral-free automatic loans worth Rs 3 lakh crore. (ANI)