Textile & apparel cluster needled by labour shortage

July 15, 2009 - India

In a recent study, commissioned by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and conducted by the Federation of Indian Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (FISME) in association with Market Insight Consultants has come out with some startling facts.

The study which was conducted in the textile cluster of Ludhiana, says that the cluster is facing a severe labour shortage. The main reasons attributed to the shortage are the Central Government schemes like National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) which has led to reverse migration.

Most of the textile units operating out of Ludhiana cluster which number around 10,000 having a cumulative turnover of around Rs 100 billion are mostly dependent on the domestic market, with less than 25 percent of the units relying on exports of textile related products.

Most of these workers who hail from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal prefer working near their home towns under the NREGS scheme. Other factors like development of SME clusters in Kolkatta and growing demand for workers in Uttarakhand have also contributed to the shortage.

The study, in its recommendations has advised the units in the cluster to increase the attractiveness of the textile cluster in order to attract workers from other states, which could lead to utilization of machinery which was lying idle due to shortage of skilled labour in the cluster.

The study also suggests opening of training centre’s by the state government along with attracting the local men and women, by coming out with special schemes, particularly for women, in order to lessen the dependence on labour from other states.