By Songbedna Bauri: The performance of the Indian garment exports sector displays how a core labour intensive sector can transform itself into an important foreign exchange earner. In the past few years, the revenues from garment exports have clocked considerable growth.
To a great extent, foreign markets such as Europe, US have played pivotal roles in boosting the sector, according to a recent report on Indian apparel and fashion industry released by IKS. As per the insights drawn from IndiaMART data, the top three destinations for Indian garment exports are the US, UK and Australia. According to the buyers who visited www dot Indiamart dot com, buyers from the US, UK and Australia are mainly concentrated in apparel and garments category. Out of the overall US buyers, 20% were in apparel and garments category only. Likewise, out of the net buyers from the UK, who visited the platform, 15% displayed interest in this category. Among the Australian buyers, nearly 15.5% were interested in apparel and garments sector only.
Although, India’s garment exports slipped by just 1% to $1 billion during April this year due to the poor demand in European markets, the decline of the Indian currency bailed out Indian apparel exporters. Rupee slipped from around Rs 45 in April 2011 against Rs 50 in March 2012. India's exports jumped 21% to $303.7 billion for the fiscal year 2011-12, while imports saw 32.1% rise to $488.6 billion during the same financial sector.
The ailing garment export sector saw poor exports trend during most part of 2011 due to weak market conditions in European Union and sluggish market in the US. Apparel exports touched $12 billion in February this year with jump of 18.9%, according to government data.
The Indian garment exporters are hoping that exports will grow between 10-15% in the current fiscal as exporters are eyeing to tap new markets. Currently, demand has already started to go up in the US. Recent report suggests that both US and Europe together makes up for about 65% of India’s total garment exports and Indian exporters are eyeing to tap new markets such as Japan, Russia and South Africa to enhance their profitability.
Meanwhile, recently Centre extended its helping hand to the exporters by offering promotion schemes and incentives to capture new markets, so that the outbound shipments grow by 20% this fiscal.
Government announced that 2% interest subvention for labour-intensive sectors and the Export Promotion Capital Goods scheme have been extended by one year. Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma also hinted that new norms for enhancing exports from Special Economic Zones would be issued soon.
The onus lies with Centre to come up with long-term policies aimed at strengthening and diversifying the domestic textile base.