New Delhi: Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal said that the Indian Footwear and Leather industry is not only a major foreign exchange earner but being a labour-intensive sector, it also provides employment to approximately 4.5 million people, 40 per cent of whom are women.
While addressing as a Chief Guest at India International Footwear Fair 2023 (IIFF) at New Delhi on Saturday, Commerce and Industry Minister said that India has the capacity to become world’s largest and best quality footwear manufacturer.
The Minister said, “India is the 2nd largest exporter of leather garments, 3rd largest exporter of Saddlery and Harness and 4th largest exporter of Leather Goods in the world.” Piyush Goyal highlighted that more than 95 per cent of the production units in this sector are Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) units.
Piyush Goyal said, “Indian Size of footwear will be launched soon to help distinguish Indian Footwear around the globe and reduce dependence on foreign sizing trends.”
He suggested the industrialists explore Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) for technological collaborations, joint ventures of non-leather footwear, thus increasing the export of the country and enhancing the domestic market with Indian products.
Goyal highlighted the beauty of Kolhapuri Footwear of Maharashtra and Mojari Footwear of Rajasthan and said that it should be an area of attraction for international buyers as well. He also said that the strength of India in this sector comes from the local raw material and its rich diverse history.
He highlighted the visionary leadership of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi leading in initiatives like undertaking grand infrastructure like ‘Bharat Mandapam’ – International Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre complex, which will host the G20 summit in September 2023.
The Minister said that testing facilities will be established by the Government as part of India’s Footwear and Leather Development Programme. He also highlighted the steps undertaken by the government for ease of doing business like decriminalisation of corporate offenses, reducing compliance burdens, creating a national single window for all approvals, World Class Infrastructure, etc.
Goyal urged the stakeholders to expand the business while keeping the focus on quality and sustainability, eco-friendly process, waste management, and exploring renewable sources for electricity. The Minister further emphasised embracing competitiveness in the form of innovative designs for a bigger and better growth. He highlighted that the global market is very competitive and urged the exporters to develop innovative as well as sustainable products for which there is a huge and growing demand in the world.
Goyal further said, “Not only do we need to enhance our design capabilities to move up the value chain, but also bring in more investments and technology to scale up the production and produce innovative products.”
He mentioned that institutions like CLRI, FDDI, and NIFT will collaborate with the industry in developing new products and technologies in tune with the changing trends and requirements of the market.