11th November 2020
UK government still hasn’t produced a lorry drivers’ guide
Though India’s garment exports are growing, helped by devaluation, Indian businesses complain about the cost of key imported components, like dyestuffs – and growing demand for yarn from China appears to be inflating the cost for local buyers of essential raw materials.
Indian lobbyists’ claims that foreign buyers are leaving Bangladesh for India consistently fail to be supported in Indian or Bangladeshi trade data
Indian garment exporters hit a number of obstacles in the last quarter of the year – just as they were beginning to publicise an apparent sudden upswing in sales. The rupee’s autumn devaluation proved short lived – and power unreliability in Tamil Nadu state (which claims to account for three-quarters of the country’s knitwear exports) became exceptionally bad, with unannounced cuts of up to ten hours a day.
Many garment makers complained that a quarter of the country’s garment workers went absent during the autumn harvest/Diwali season because of programmes encouraging them to work part of the year on their farms. The country’s Clothing Manufacturers Association estimates wages for skilled garment workers around Mumbai have inflated 30% – in response to market forces, and with little pressure from unions or legislation.
In spite of constant claims from trade associations that child labour does not exist in the Indian garment industry, activist groups, with police assistance, made almost monthly announcements of underage workers being found in textile or garment factories. Forty-seven allegedly “child” workers were found in a Tamil Nadu spinning mill on October 14, for example, as Punjab authorities announced raids on knitwear factories for October 16 and 17 after uncovering over fifty children at work in late September. In fact, there seems little evidence of any children working in factories making exports: but the constant, and patently nonsensical, total denials of child labour by industry spokespeople destroy their credibility and almost guarantee the US State Department will keep India on its child-labour blacklist.