Apparel Sourcing Intelligence - Worldwide

US Funds Child Labour Attack

The International Labour Organization (ILO) announced on February 16 that the US Department of Labor will help fund a new three-year programme aimed at eliminating child labour in ten hazardous industries in India, including footwear and silk. India has an estimated 11.2 million working children, but the programme is targeted at 80,000 of them working in the most hazardous industries. The objectives of the programme include withdrawing children in these hazardous industries from work, and providing them and their families with economic support.

Debt reconstruction scheme delayed
India’s Industrial Development Bank (IDBI) has announced the first 25 loans (totalling $28m) under its textile industry debt reconstruction package.
The industry is estimated to carry around $1.3bn of debt: servicing that debt costs around $200m, with average rates of 16-17% being paid. The Indian government proposed that eligible companies could convert this into lower-cost loans, charging around 9%. The IDBI now restricts low-cost loans to companies with pre-EBITDA positive earnings for three of the past five years, capable of producing net profits at least 33% greater than the cost of servicing the debts, and capable of paying off any accrued unpaid interest.
Yet Indian manufacturers claim that these stipulations make the scheme of limited value. Observers believe this indicates the widespread financial problems facing Indian textiles. Behind the hundred or so world-class manufacturers lie tens of thousands of marginal businesses suffer from India’s inflexible labour laws – and just as exposed, potentially, to competition from India’s most efficient companies as any Western manufacturer.