Turning disaster into opportunity is something that is proven time and again by some of the workers of garment manufacturing industry. They have been impacted more than anyone else in the industry but with little hard work and strong will power, these tailors are now owners and are successfully managing their livelihood with the same stitching skills. Along with the passion of these workers, few schemes of the Government have proved that sometimes things become very challenging but they do have solutions too.
Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the two labour host states, have come forward to support their workers while Chhattisgarh has come up with another noble initiative. Such efforts show that with little support, workers can become entrepreneurs. No doubt, these efforts are currently at small or micro level but there are enough chances that such initiatives can have a better future.
Ghasipur village of Aligarh (Uttar Pradesh) has around 400 homes and it has more than 20 small factories producing variety of garments. Notably, it is producing apparels of around Rs. 10 million per month. Majority of these units are new and started business recently. This entire set-up has been developed without any major support of the Government as most of the factory owners have managed getting the resources from their own circle.
Around 250 workers are completely involved in these small units. It started with the recent development when workers, who used to work in garment factories, returned to their homes and tried to do something in village only. Not only male workers in small factories are stitching garments, even women at homes are involved in similar work.
Mahdi Hasan, running one of the factories in the village, says, “The challenge was creating a market and the youth of the village started supplying to other villages and few of them even sold garments (door to door) in villages. Now the factories of this village are supplying garments to states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi-NCR.”
Importantly, some of the factories are taking stock lot fabric and producing good quality T-shirts and lowers. These small factories work on piece rate, and for every piece, the cutting master gets on an average Rs. 3 and for a lower/T-shirt, a worker gets Rs. 7. Yogesh Kumar and Shishpal Singh, who used to work in Jaipur’s garment factories, are now happy and comfortable working in their own village and are well-settled.
Small textile cluster starts in Bihar
The Bihar Government has been actively promoting the District Industrial Innovation Scheme in recent times. Under this initiative, workers of Bihar, who return from other states, have starting becoming self-reliant by having their own manufacturing.
Teghra of Begusarai (Bihar) is also one such area where workers have started manufacturing of products like masks, bags, etc., under textile cluster. Similar cluster for bag manufacturing is also operational in the Ramzanpur region of the same district.
Such units normally have 15-20 workers and they produce whatever products are more in demand in nearby area.
It is also pertinent to mention here that the support of the local administration is very important for such small clusters as it plays a big role in the foundation of these clusters, and also actively supports them to get business and overall support.
Despite earning less in the beginning and facing initial hiccups, workers are happy to get work in their hometown and to become entrepreneurs themselves. This enables them to work respectfully in their state and live with their family. They are getting reasonable business also as their production is cost-effective and their products are of good quality.
Skill mapping plays an important role
When migratory workers returned to their home states, the Government of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh came up with skill mapping and it played an important role to identify the workers’ profile and skills as well. Millions of workers were covered in both the states under skill mapping and accordingly it was decided that a particular district or city will have a cluster of apparel manufacturing or any other segment.
For example, Bihar Government did a skill survey of around 29,000 workers in Sitamarhi district and the survey distinctly brought out that most of them have skills related to garment manufacturing like stitching, embroidery, etc.
Chhattisgarh comes up with a different but strong initiative
Chhattisgarh, which neither has any organised garment industry nor a good pool of skill workers, has managed to come up with a new unit in Dantewada district which is a Naxal hub. And most important aspect is that this is purely a Government initiative. In fact local administration is the flag bearer for this good beginning.
Nva Dantewada garment factory is the first-ever garment manufacturing unit offering employment to around 200 people in two shifts. The unit will produce uniforms for CRPF and NMDC and is also in touch with e-commerce portals. The plan is to provide job opportunity to at least 1,000 people in next 6 months. Completely initiated by local administration and without much fresh investment, the unit is just at its beginning stage and Deepak Soni, District Collector, the man behind this initiative, aims to develop the district into a garment manufacturing hub.
Stitching machines were already available with the administration and locally trained people are providing training to others. Notably, with the help and guidance of administration, women are managing this factory. The garments manufactured here have the brand name ‘DanNex’, which means Dantewada Next – a motivation from the local tribals. The workers working in this unit include young women and senior citizens.
“We are trying for poverty eradication through this initiative. We are also ensuring training for fresh people looking for jobs in this unit,” said Deepak.
The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) will partner with the special purpose vehicle (SPV) for this apparel facility. The state-of-the-art machines are available with the administration and other resources are also best managed to start this facility.
Local administration feels that it’s a good start and Dantewada could have many more such units. As far as factories in this region by private players are concerned, as of now there is no such plan.
To promote DanNex and bring the tribal culture to the forefront, the administration is also promoting local designers and offering cash prizes for interesting designs. These designs should portray tribal culture and art.
Isn’t it a brain storming case study for other states also which don’t have garment factories? And more so in this critical scenario when expansion by the existing organisations in new states is very difficult. Such initiatives will definitely help in the starting of an ecosystem so that in the long run, proper industry can be developed there.
Prevailing from long in few hubs
In this entire scenario, Ludhiana and Delhi-NCR are providing few good examples where workers or supervisors have started their own small factories and are also doing jobwork at factories where they earlier used to work. Though the industry insiders have stated that due to Covid crisis, such small units faced lot of challenges and are hardly surviving, but at the same time it is true that whenever there will be good orders, such units will work again and grow with the industry.
Though at small level, these are perfect examples of entrepreneurship! If properly taken care by the other stakeholders of the industry and Government, they definitely have a bright future and full scope to expand.
|Organised way of working||Low-cost manufacturing|
|Compliance and certification||Strong know how|
|State-of-the-art units||Easy handling of very small orders|
|Huge orders||More comfortable to produce for domestic market|