The Expectations from the 67th National Garment Fair were high – what with the highest ever number of Brands participating. However, in all honesty, although the air and mood in the Market was upbeat prior to the Fair, I was a bit apprehensive. One kept hearing about the downfall of the MBO Sector, and the disastrous Summer Season in many regions. Would Retailers actually turn up or avoid meeting their suppliers due to outstanding payments or lack of orders? And even if they did, would they actually place their Festive orders?
The somewhat subdued turnout on the First Day did give me the feeling that my worst fears were likely to come true. But then Voila! The next Three Days saw the flood gates opening up – and not just in the number of Visitors, but also the actual bookings! Several Participants walked up to me to say that this was easily the best ever show for them – and that they never expected such bookings. One participant I saw put up a sign saying ‘Booking Closed’ on the third day morning!
Importantly, both the experiments – extending the Fair to 4 Days and making it a Non-Decoration Fair – were received very enthusiastically, and I believe should be continued in the coming Fairs.
In conclusion, one can with reasonable pride say – a fantastic show! Thank you Participants, Visitors, Fair Sub Committee, and the Rain Gods – for making it all happen!
And thank you Kishore Biyani, for Inaugurating the Fair and for your inspiring words!
In the meantime, the Government seems to have finally woken up to the downturn the Industry is slipping into. In a major decision announced in two tranches, the Government has doubled the Import Tariffs on over 350 Textile Items, including Fabric and Apparel, to provide some protection and relief to the Sector. And, if reports are to be believed, several more measures are likely to be announced soon – ranging from increased ROSL, and Duty Drawback to FTAs with Europe.
For once, the Government seems to have looked at the interests of the Domestic Industry as well – and full credit for this must go to our Minister for Textiles, Smt Smriti Zubin Irani. I have had the privilege to interact with her on several occasions, and trust me, I have yet to come across a Minister with more passion, commitment, and determination as her. The final decision-making powers on several issues may rest outside her turf, but all these slew of measures would not have come about but for her persistent, aggressive, and passionate representations in the Cabinet.
We are lucky to have her at the helm of affairs.
Having said this, the Government will do well to understand that the measures to protect the Domestic Industry will not really have the desired impact unless some steps are taken to address the Imports from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, etc. Although the actual numbers today are not alarming, the trends are, and unless the Fabric Forward and Country Of Origin Rules are incorporated in our Agreements with them, Bangladesh in particular will continue to expand its footprint into our Domestic Markets. It is great to act the benign big Brother – but at what cost?
From the President's Desk
The Expectations from the 67th National Garment Fair were high – what with the highest ever number of Brands participating. However, in all honesty, although the air and mood in the Market was upbeat prior to the Fair, I was a bit apprehensive. One kept hearing about the downfall of the MBO Sector, and the disastrous Summer .... Read More