Interview with Mr Rajeev Lakhara

Mr Rajeev Lakhara
Mr Rajeev Lakhara
Managing Director
Footwear Design & Development Institute - Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Govt of India.
Footwear Design & Development Institute  - Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Govt of India.

What potential do you read of the leather and footwear sector from fashion and branding point of view in the coming years?

The outlook for the sector is positive. However, the industry will need to build strong country brands in footwear and finished goods sector to promote image building and competitiveness.

Due to anti-dumping measures adopted by the European countries, there are huge opportunities for the Indian industry to respond to the challenges and demands, which may grow manifold.

The US companies, such as Wal-Mart, K-Mart and Target Metro are looking for entrepreneurs /suppliers with large economies of scales. But, inadequate facilities do not give them the confidence to shift their base from China to India.

In the coming years, from fashion and branding point of view of the leather and footwear sector the potential lies in:

  • Favourable Raw Material Base: India is the largest livestock holding country, 21percent large animals and 11percent small animals.
  • Large and low cost labour force: About 2.50 million workforce (30 percent women)
  • Comprehensive product range: Capabilities in all categories: footwear, garments, leather goods, saddlery.
  • Social Accountability: Child labour legislation and adequate working conditions.
  • Are there any plans for online education or partnering foreign educational institutions offering in-house training or research facilities?

    FDDI & Pruf- und Forschungsinstitute Pirmasens e.V (PFI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for acquiring a long term collaboration and alliance with each other for exchange of technical know-how for their laboratory and research work with a view to maintain a common standard in FDDI and PFI Laboratories.

    PFI, Germany is an organization engaged in the field of quality control, testing, certification and research for footwear and components and other related fields.

    To facilitate the working professionals of the footwear industry & to extend the benefit of formal training programmes to far off places, FDDI has tied up with Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) for offering professional programmes through Distance Learning Mode.

    FDDI with IGNOU has started the short-term Distance Learning Certificate Programmes with a focus to create an intellectual and a complete professional through in-depth training & updated course curriculum.

    FDDI & IGNOU is offering three certificate programmes in Footwear Technology:- 1. Certificate in Shoe Upper Cutting (CSUC) 2. Certificate in Shoe Upper Stitching (CSUS) 3. Certificate in Shoe Lasting & Finishing (CSLF)

    The various departments for which the programmes are made are Cutting, Stitching, Lasting and Finishing & admissions to these certificates programme of the University are open throughout the year as per the academic calendar. The duration of these programmes are six months.

    These certificate programmes have been designed to provide the know-how and skills needed to work as a worker/operator, supervisor, and engineer in Footwear industry. It will train to provide effective and efficient services to the learners in these footwear sectors. These are highly skill-oriented programmes and involve intensive practical work.

    FDDI proposes to have tie-ups with some of the overseas institutions and industrial establishments. The future students of this institute will compulsorily have to visit business institutions and industrial establishments abroad for acquiring adequate global exposure, being especially the benchmark of the global visions of FDDI Centre for Retail.

    What other specific activities your Institute carries out that places your Institute among the top educational Institutions in India?

    Over the last two and a half year, FDDI has stepped up its efforts to go in for a makeover drive like extension of its academic building, commencement of new programmes such as leather goods & accessories designing, fashion merchandizing & retail management etc. Upgradation is the watchword in every developmental aspect of the institute.

    The institute has been riding on a sound reputation in the corporate sector. Moreover, it is the credibility, placement options, unique teaching methods, various services offered to the industries and credibility that form its USP.

    We have also taken up academic upgradation in a major way. FDDI has also updated curriculum and syllabi of its academic programmes and obtained AICTE approval for Post Graduate Diploma in Management (Footwear Technology) Programme, which is unique of its kind in the area of footwear technology and management and is very popular among the students and industry.

    FDDI is adding feathers in its cap. Besides providing training and consultancy, it has undertaken in-depth evaluation & accreditation for ISO 9001 & ISO 14001 for Common Facility Centers (CFCs) of handicraft products.

    Under the Integrated Development of Leather Sector Scheme (IDLS) under the 10th Five Year Plan (2002-07) of Indian Leather Development Programme (ILDP) of the Govt. of India, FDDI is the implementing agency of IDLS Scheme for leather goods and garments, saddlery, leather footwear and footwear components for modernization and technology upgradation.

    FDDI has brought a revolutionary change in the Indian industries as far as the Chemical and Physical testing of leather, sole, metallic trims & accessories, fabric & components etc. are concerned. Pruf- und Forschungsinstitute Pirmasens e.V (PFI), has collaborated with FDDI which is the world leader in testing of safety shoes having its office at Germany, Hong Kong & China. It is the first time PFI has collaborated with any laboratory in India.

    This collaboration enables Indian industries to get the testing done at FDDI at much lower costs compared to the foreign counterparts and immensely help the industries to enhance the export.

    The collaboration with PFI helps the industry to compete with the international best and enhance the exports from our country, the outcome of which will visible in a short span of time.

    Some other specific activities that FDDI has carried out are: 1. Setting-up of Visual Merchandizing Lab. 2. Modernization of laboratories and workshops by addition of new equipments. 3. Augmentation of library facilities. 4. Support for projects involving new innovation in classroom technology. 5. Training and retraining for the teaching and supporting technical staff. 6. Up gradation of computing and networking facilities. 7. Creation and up-gradation of the infrastructure for R & D effort. 8. Support sponsored research projects in Handicrafts. 9. Development of horizontal and vertical linkages with other institutions, research laboratories, industry and user agencies through multiplicity of programs including EDP & consultancy.
    Published on: 30/07/2007

    DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of

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