Industry Leaders Advocate For Labour Law Reforms And Skill Development
In a rare such event in the region, a high – profile seminar on ‘Opportunities in Textile and Clothing Industry’ was organised in Kolkata on September 13 where speakers and experts advocated for labour law reforms and a positive approach towards skill development of workers to ensure speedy growth of textile and hosiery sector to face the global challenges.
Speakers from different segments of textile, readymade garment and hosiery sectors felt that the amendment to the existing labour laws can only bring about an attitudinal changes in the labour front to increase productivity.
Addressing the seminar, Mr. K.B. Agarwala, president, Federation of Hosiery Manufacturers’ Association (FOHMA) said slowing down in production in China and certain in-house problems in Bangladesh garment manufacturers have created a great demand for Indian apparel in western countries. Entrepreneurs in India, particularly in West Bengal, should take advantage of the situation and boost their productions.
In these circumstances, ‘we need to accelerate our production capability with improving quality. There should be a quality consciousness among the workers as well as the manufacturers. There is an imperative need to encourage productivity and explore market even in the small cities, Mr. Agarwala said.
Referring to the labour law reforms, Mr. Agarwala said any amendment to the existing laws could never be adverse to any sector. Both workers and employers are expected to be benefited by such move. At the same time, more and more training facilities should be made available to create skilled and trained workers for the benefit of the organisations to avail the present opportunities.
About the Technology Upgrading Fund Scheme (TUFS), Mr. Agarwala, who is also managing director of the hosiery giant Rupa & Co. said this facility should also be provided to small and medium manufacturers in a big way so that they can adopt the modern technology to improve their productions and meet the fast growing domestic market.
On the export front, Mr. Agarwala regretted that share of West Bengal in the country’s total textile and apparel export value is negligible. Now is the time to pay a special attention to the export front in order to grab the global market, he added.
Speaking at the seminar, Mr. Rajiva Sinha, principle secretary of MSME & Textiles, government of West Bengal, assured all possible assistances of the government for the development of the sector in the state, at the same time he urged the industry leaders to get themselves fully involved to achieve the goal.
He said there should be a similarity between what they say at a seminar and what they do in the practical field. There should be a proper co-ordination between the government and the industry leaders to initiate any result-oriented programme for the benefit of the common people of the country.
Referring to the skill development programme, Mr. Sinha said government has introduced many such schemes which are available to the workers free of cost. Of course, he said, the government will work as a technology provider with a special attention to improve quality consciousness.
In a Skype session, Mr. Premal Udani, former chairman of AEPC, regretted that West Bengal which was once on the top in textile and hosiery has lost its position due to less productivity of workers and poor infrastructure facilities. Tirupur in Tamil Nadu, which has a great crisis of labour, overpassed West Bengal particularly in hosiery sector because of improved work culture and positive attitude of the manufacturers for quality development.
How a labour when works in West Bengal records low productivity, while the same labour working out of the state generates higher productive skill. “We will have to find out the proper reason for it,” Mr. Udani said.
He pointed out that West Bengal should have a better pragmatic, clear and transparent textile policy like those in Gujarat, Haryana, Maharashtra and Karnataka. The state will have to improve infrastructure facilities and single window clearance to boost exports from the state. There should be proper co-ordination between the entrepreneurs and the government in this respect, Mr. Udani suggested.
Senior vice-president, Techonopak, Mr. Amit Gugnani viewed that an all out survey is needed to find out the problems and lapses being faced by both the hosiery and garment sector throughout the country. Technopak had already undertaken several such assessment drives and recommended suggestions for their implementations in some major cities in the country.
In West Bengal, Mr. Gugnani said, Technopak had made such kind of assessment drive on the ailing jute sector earlier. This time such a drive will be conducted covering textile, garment and hosiery sector in the state before submitting its report to the concerned authorities, he added.
Expressing his displeasure over the overall situation in export front in West Bengal, managing director, Rajalakshmi Exports, Mr. Rajat Jaipuria lashed out at the concept of making Kolkata an export hub saying poor infrastructure, higher electricity charges and continuing ‘dadagiri’ of unions affiliated to different political parties are some of the major reasons causing negative impact in the export front.
He said to export any consignment from Kolkata, it is required to send it through Mumbai port since Kolkata port has no such infrastructure. He wondered how long such situation will continue in the state when neighbouring countries are significantly increasing their export volume day by day. Kolkata is lagging far behind in this regard even today, Mr. Jaipuria said.
About the labour law reforms, he said the government has an important role to play to make workers more discipline. Effort should be made to change the attitude of the labour, which can only help implement any amendment to the exiting labour laws.
Dr. Dipali Singhi, principal, J.D Birla Institute in her address outlined the activities and performance of the organization to impart training to the students with the help of modern technology.
Stressing the need for proper infrastructure facilities at the training institutes in the country, she said pass outs from her institution ‘are doing exceedingly well in different parts of the country. On the completion of the courses the institute all the time approached to textile and garment companies for their proper placement and this process will continue in future too, she added.
In his address at the valedictory session of the event, managing director, Turtle Limited, Mr. Sanjay Jhunjhunwala appreciated the West Bengal government’s role for the development of the sector in the state.
In a contrast to what Mr. Jaipuria said earlier, Mr. Jhunjhunwala viewed that his company has received adequate support from the state’s textile department as and when needed, which helped him reach to the present position.
The seminar was organised by FOHMA in collaboration with iLead and ministry of textile, government of West Bengal. Manyavar was the main sponsored along with Groz-Beckert, Morgan Tecnica & TT as sub sponsored. ‘indian-apparel.com’ was the media partner of the event.
Mr. Sanjay Jain was the key person on behalf of FOHMA, who convened the event and assured the industries leader that he will coordinate between them & the Government to resolve the issues to retain the West Bengal as textile & garment hub. He has also shared his experience about the latest development comparing with China & Bangladesh.
iLead is a skill development centre. The aim of the organisation is to create a vibrant and world-class training environment where future leaders are exposed to the best-in-class infrastructure, an inspiring & encouraging faculty and regular interaction with leaders from diversed fields.