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The Annual General Meeting of the Federation of Hosiery Manufacturers Association of India (FOHMA) was held on 22nd September, 2019 at Taj Bengal hotel, Kolkata.

Mr. K B Agarwala was re-appointed as President of FOHMA for the year 2018–2019. In the course of his presentation, he observed that the Indian hosiery industry had vast potential for advancement and growth, which could be accomplished by using proper & advanced technologies. With the changing market dynamics, the opportunity for Indian players to explore the export markets have increased considerably.
Among the other things, he pointed out that:
  1. The domestic market for apparel & lifestyle products currently estimated at US$ 85 billion was expected to reach US$ 160 billion by 2025. Additionally, the Indian Textiles sector of which hosiery is an integral part contributed to around 13 % of total exports and employed around 105 million people directly & indirectly. This was fueling a significant part of the Indian economy.
  2. The proposed hike in FDI limit for multi-brand retail would bring in more players and enable more options to consumers. With global retail brands assured of a domestic foothold, outsourcing was expected to rise significantly. All of the above would help the organized apparel segment to grow at a CAGR of more than 13 per cent over a 10-year period.
  3. The new National Textile Policy aims to allow foreign investments, thereby creating notable employment opportunities for a large number of people.
  4. The doubling of import duty on 328 textile items to 20% would help domestic players to marginalize their losses, which had increased owing to the influx of imported products - post GST.
  5. Promoting manufacturing of specific hosiery products in our country (by limiting imports) will help in furthering the “Make in India” initiative.
  6. The Apparel sector has shown a dip of 4% in exports from US$17.4 billion in 2016-17 to US$16.7 billion in 2017-18. Given this scenario, India’s export policy needs to be revisited for eliminating the existing gaps and irregularities. The Government of India should provide a structured roadmap for robust growth in merchandise exports.
  7. The earmarking of Rs. 690 crores by Union Ministry of Textiles for setting up 21 Ready-made Garment manufacturing units in 7 states would help in developing & modernizing the Apparels sector.

Mr. Alapan Bandyopadhyay, (IAS) Additional Chief Secretary, Industry, Commerce & Enterprises, Government of West Bengal was the “Chief Guest” at this function. He spoke about the positive growth and how every possible support would be made available to the hosiery players wanting to scale up their businesses and / or use West Bengal as a strategic base to expand their operations.

The FOHMA Office Bearers (including the Regional Vice Presidents and Joint Secretaries), Managing Committee Members were also elected at this AGM.
The newly-elected Regional Vice Presidents & Joint Secretaries shared their thoughts about activities – while highlighting the relevant issues / matters that would have to be addressed under the banner of FOHMA. It was decided to prepare necessary representations with all the facts, figures, details, etc. on each of these issues and send it to the relevant authorities at the Centre and respective State Government for suitable action. The two key matters that were discussed included:
  1. GST on Hosiery items
  2. Packaging of hosiery / apparel items

The issues and problems faced by the industry following the implementation of GST were discussed threadbare – wherein it was felt that a proper representation should be sent from FOHMA to the concerned authorities, highlighting the difficulties faced by the tiny, small players operating without proper infrastructure and limited capabilities. Members also opined that in the light of very strict provisions, many of the job-workers belonging to the unorganized sector were now becoming wary of doing business in a hindrance-free manner.

Accordingly, it was decided that the local Hosiery-related Trade Bodies, Associations, etc. should send suitable representations to the concerned authorities for reaffirming the need to speedily redress the problems faces by hosiery fraternity players due to the faulty implementation of GST.
Members then discussed about the new norm under the “Pollution Control Act” which now curbed the usage of Poly-Propylene (PP) Bags in the Hosiery / Apparel Industry. It was pointed out that recent measures taken by the Central Government had become applicable in some States, where PP bags with less than 50 microns were banned. This has resulted in problems being created for those States where the law has been enforced. In view of the Government’s decision and to adapt an approach to strengthen the process of creating a pollution free environment, the following suggestions were placed before the General Body.
  1. Stop usage of bags with less than 50 microns.
  2. Efforts should be made to suitably replace Poly Propylene Bags with some other items.
  3. Instead of using per PP bags on per piece basis, the industry players should start using PP bags containing two or more items with PP of 50 microns and more - for economic viability.
  4. Adopt to other packaging materials like paper, natural fibres, etc. which are non-polluting and recyclable.
  5. Where single piece packing is done in boxes, PP bags should be avoided under all circumstances.

It was also decided to prepare a “White Paper” on the above issue and draw up an action plan to mitigate the problems that have arisen / are likely to arise going forward.


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