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Interview with Abhishek Ralli

Industry Speak
Abhishek Ralli
Abhishek Ralli
CEO
Guide Footwear
Guide Footwear

India’s economy should be on track by Diwali

Founded in 1962 in Agra, Guide Footwear manufactures men’s footwear for brands like Lee Cooper, Provogue, Mothercare, Metro, Mochi, Allen Solly, Hush Puppies, Id, Pierre Cardin, Samsonite, Peter England and Bata. Its Abhishek Ralli spoke to Fibre2Fashion on the fallout of the COVID-19 crisis.

In which specific areas are you facing major issues?

We are facing issues because of cancellation of orders in the country as well as overseas and that is almost 25 per cent of our annual turnover now.

What steps are you taking or have taken to face the challenges like order cancellation that you have cited above?

We are planning for some other category like safety kits, to utilise unused capacity.

How critical would be the anticipated loss or reduction of trained manpower on fronts like manufacturing, warehousing, supply chain etc. for your business? Such functions could be in house or outsourced.

I don't think there would be any reduction in trained manpower as far as our business is concerned. But where labour is from other states, there shall be a huge blow. It shall take some time, but everything will be streamlined.

Are there any thoughts within individual members, trade associations to come together and work cohesively so that losses can be minimised?

One idea is the use of ‘Made in India’ products as far as possible.

By when are you expecting the beginning of the revival process to commence?

I think Indian festival and marriages would be the main reason for revival. These drive the Indian economy and fill people with enthusiasm. If 90 per cent situation is under control by June, the economy should be on track around Diwali.

Is your business entity expecting any specific measure from the government or its nodal departments?

We expect provident fund and Employee State Insurance Scheme (ESIS) waiver for the first quarter and availability of liquidity at concessional rate to maintain the cycle. Credit rating must not be affected in case payments of exports are delayed. I think there shall be a huge opportunity for India as there will be a global boycott of China. So the government should change industry norms accordingly. We can grab this opportunity if norms are eased. It can be concessional rates, land subsidy for the industry and single window approvals.

A whole lot of enterprises have begun manufacturing of masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) required in bulk today. Has any such step been taken by anyone in your sector? Is the industry or cluster mulling over any such initiative?

Yes, safety kits will be a huge industry in the next few years and we are already into it. (PC)
Published on: 29/04/2020

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 Fibre2Fashion.com.

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