R. Vimal Kumar

Exports decline drastically

Many units resort to five-day week

Tirupur: The economic recession sweeping the Western world has started taking its toll on the knitwear industry in Tirupur: about 20,000 workers are to lose their jobs.

Exports have plummeted steeply in the first half of this financial year and projections for the remaining half of the fiscal looking ‘unenthusiastic.’

Speaking to The Hindu, A. Sakthivel, president, Tirupur Exporters Association, said about 20,000 workers employed in different segments of the manufacturing chain in the knitwear cluster would lose their jobs very soon owing to the market crunch.

“Retrenchment has become imperative as exports for the first six months of this financial year ending September 30 has declined to Rs. 5,050 crore from Rs. 5,350 crore registered during the corresponding period last fiscal,” he said. In terms of earnings in US dollars, the downturn was pegged at 10 percent.

There had been a 30 per cent decline in orders placed with the Tirupur knitwear cluster. “Many units have now reduced the number of shifts and resorted to five-day week routine following a drop in the orders,” he pointed out.

Mr Sakthivel said the Government should come out with sops to help the exporters wriggle out of the predicament.

According to him, interests on pre-shipment and post-shipment credits levied by banks should be brought down to six per cent without any link to Prime Lending Rate. Moratorium on repayment of term loans should be imposed for a period of at least two years.

Duty drawback rates on cotton-based knitwear products should be enhanced from 8.8 per cent to 11 per cent.

Mr. Sakthivel said that the cluster being primarily constituted by small and medium scale enterprises, venturing into new markets in Far East and even in domestic segment instead of the US and Europe looked tough owing to lack of any (product) branding.

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