As new Covid-19 infections in the country decline, migrant workers have started returning in droves to the textile exporting hubs in Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, bringing cheer to the industry which is seeing a 25-30% increase in export orders from the previous year.
Apparel exporters said they expect the order position to reach the pre-pandemic level by the third quarter of FY22.
Tirupur is one of the largest textile export hubs in the country. About half of the 600,000 people working in the city’s garment cluster are migrant labourers, mostly from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha and Jharkhand. The other centres are Erode, Salem and Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, and Noida in Uttar Pradesh.
“A large chunk of migrant workers has returned. And some are on their way too,” K Selvaraju, secretary general of the Southern India Mills Association (SIMA), told ET. “The situation of labour availability is not that bad as it was last year, when a complete lockdown was declared.”
Aiding the return of migrant workers is the end of sowing of kharif crops, which has freed up farm hands to travel back to their cities of work to resume their daily wage earning.
The SIMA executive said the order position for garments and made-ups from the global markets is robust. “It is more than 25-30% compared to last year. Soon, we will reach a pre-pandemic level of exports,” he said.
report said that despite the EU and the US being the largest readymade garment export destinations for India with 32% and 27% share in fiscal 2020, respectively, India was unable to increase its presence there. Recently, however, the US imposed a ban on cotton and cotton-based products originating from Xinjiang region in China, which contributes more than 80% of China’s cotton production.
Consequently, several readymade garment (RMG) brands started looking for alternatives globally and this led to a spike in India-originated RMG exports in or since March 2021. This trend is expected to underpin India’s exports trajectory, providing it a much-needed opportunity to re-establish relations with global brands.
In the January-May 2021 period, exports of cotton yarn/fabric and made-ups from India grew by 69% from the year-ago period, while RMG exports grew by 39%. Exports of cotton increased by 55% on-year basis during October 2020–May 2021 to 5.8 million bales of 170 kg as the US and Brazil struggled with lower cotton production, the Crisil report said.
Lalit Thukral, president of Noida Apparel Export Cluster said, “There is no shortage of workers now. Since the cluster was not under any lockdown despite the second wave of Covid, overseas buyers have gained confidence about a steady supply chain. The demand is already up by 30% compared to last year and we will reach the pre-pandemic level of exports within the third quarter of FY22.”