Punjab has ranked seventh in volume of net exports in the textile and apparel sector in 2019-20. In the previous two years, too, the performance had been dismal as compared with the other states.
As per the data released by the Ministry of Textiles, the total amount of exports from Punjab for 2019-20 was of US$ 1,509 million. Other states that have ranked ahead of Punjab include Delhi (US$ 2,332), Gujarat (US$ 4,901), Haryana (US$ 3,035), Karnataka (US$ 2,386), Maharashtra (US$ 3,987), Tamil Nadu (US$ 6,766) and Uttar Pradesh (US$ 2,853).
Industrialists said it was because of the Centre and the state government turning a blind eye to the problems of the garment and textile industry and if these warning signs continue to be ignored, Punjab may slip even further.
Expressing resentment over the statistics, Harish Dua, executive council member of Apparel Export Promotion Council, said, “Ludhiana is the biggest hub of garment manufacturing in north India. There was a time when we were number one garment manufacturers in the country, but due to the apathy of the successive central and state governments, we slid and other states pipped us. One of the biggest hurdles for Ludhiana’s garment exporters is huge expenditure incurred on the outgoing freight till the ports as compared with the other states. It has been years since we have been demanding freight subsidy for garment exporters of Punjab to put us on par with those from other states.”
Vinod Thapar, chairman of Knitwear Club, said, “Punjab’s garment industry is in dire need of technological advancement. Both Centre and state should come together and introduce a tailor-made technological upgrade scheme for us, under which we should be given financing at 0% rate of interest for purchase of machinery. Besides, labour cost is very high in Punjab as compared with the other states. Our competitors in other states have an edge over us.”