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Surat textile sector loses 15-20% workers to NREGA
17
Apr '12
Surat, known to be the hub of India's man-made fibre industry, is facing shortage of workers due to the implementation of the Central Government sponsored National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NRGEA) in the rural areas.

Since the implementation of the scheme around five years ago, a number of skilled workers employed in Surat textile industry for weaving and processing jobs have shifted to their hometowns in faraway states like Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

This has especially affected the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the weaving and textile processing sectors due to their limited paying capacity.

Textile weavers estimate the loss of around 15-20 percent of their workers owing to NREGA and say a solution to the widening demand-supply gap in availability of skilled workers needs to be found before the issue manifests into a much larger problem.

Speaking to fibre2fashion, Mr. Ashok Jirawala, President of Federation of Gujarat Weavers' Association (FOGWA), said, “Surat textile industry is currently experiencing shortage of workers due to last month's festival of Holi and the NREGA scheme. While the workers who went to their hometowns for the festival are returning, those who get employment under NREGA prefer to stay back in their hometowns.”

“We are short of 15-20 percent workers, mainly due to the NREGA scheme, which allows people to earn by working in their native place itself. Hence, these people have stopped coming to cities like Surat looking for work,” he explains.

Informing about the steps taken to address the issue, he says, “We had made a strong representation to the Minister of State for Textiles Panabaaka Lakshmi. We have made a request to the Union Government that the skilled workers should be exempt from the NREGA scheme and only the unskilled workers should be given benefit of this scheme. We are yet to receive any response, but are hopeful of getting a positive reply.”

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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