India’s textile hub Tirupur in deep crisis

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India’s textile hub Tirupur in deep crisis

Wednesday, 12 April 2023 | Kumar Chellappan | KOCHI

Tirupur, the textile hub of India is in deep crisis as the export orders it had expected from USA and Europe in the post-Covid pandemic situation did not materialize. Eight lakh workers and their households face an uncertainty as more and more MSME units are pulling down the shutters day by day.

 The district, once known and the engine of Tamil Nadu’s development, has broken down as the State administration has failed to take note of the seriousness of the situation, according to Arjun Sampath of the Hindu Makkal Katchi. A communique issued by Tiruppur Textile Association (TEA), portrays a disturbing picture of India’s knitwear cluster. Out of the eight lakh textile workers in the district, six lakh are employed directly and out of this 60 per cent are women workers. S Sakthivel, executive secretary, TEA, is disturbed over the fact that since these women are the bread earners of the households, any fall in their monthly income is likely to derail the families. Despite challenges faced by Tirupur in the form of Covid-19 and the resultant economic meltdown, the knitwear capital did commendable job in 2021-22 and earned foreign exchange worth `33,525 crore which is 55 per cent of national share. “Ready Made Garment sector is employment intensive sector and with an investment of `One Crore in Garment sector, 70 jobs can be generated and it is to be noted that next to agriculture sector, Ready Made Garment sector is providing more employment and contributing a lot to the Tamil Nadu economy,” said K M Subramanian, president, TEA.

Both Sakthivel and Subramanian pointed out that the State Government was not forthcoming in its approach to the knitwear export units in Tirupur. There are 1213 knitwear units in the district, out of which majority are in the MSME units.  “But the contribution by the State Government towards these MSME units are absolutely nil. There are no infrastructure facilities to accommodate the workers who land in Tirupur on a daily basis in search of work.

 Housing for labor and increasing overtime cap for apparel sector are some of the urgent measures which should be executed only by the State Government.

 “Though a project for upskilling 50,000 existing workers have been submitted to State Government, it has evoked no response. Once the capability of these workers are upskilled, they themselves could function as employment providers.”

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