Opportunities for leather exports in India
The Leather Industry of India has been one of the most prominent industries since the 18th and 19th centuries. Ancient leather industry centers like Agra and Kanpur were renowned for delivering unmatched quality of leather products. Today, India contributes to around 13% of the total production of leather in the world. Being a traditional industry, it enjoys an abundant supply of skilled and semi-skilled workforce throughout the nation. Along with the emerging local and global markets, India can play a significant role in the production and export of leather and leather-based products in the world.
Leather as a compelling export Industry
With the rising population and improving living standards of the people around the globe, there is an exponential growth in the demand for leather and leather articles. Currently, India exports leather in various forms like rawhide, finished leather, leather articles, footwear, and garments. India ranks second in the export of leather garments in the world and third-largest exporter of footwear
Still, this sector contributes only 1 percent of the national GDP. These numbers are meager, given the potential this sector holds. With proper planning and robust infrastructure, this sector can create around 2 million jobs. The global demand for the leather industry is at an all-time high. India already has trade agreements related to the leather industry in place with nations like Japan, Korea, Chile, and other ASEAN members. Talks are underway for a similar deal with Australia and E.U. Once the agreement is signed, the demand for leather and its’ articles will skyrocket.
With an abundant raw material, skilled workforce, and existing infrastructure, India has the potential to revolutionize this industry. The government, too, has realized the potential of this sector, and hence, it is providing every possible support to the industry. The government has reduced GST on various leather industry related products and services to boost this sector. Leather manufacturing industries are allowed to have 100% FDI, resulting in more foreign investment with better equipment and machinery. Under ILDP(Indian leather Development Programme), the government is providing numerous grants to help small and medium-sized leather units.
These schemes and benefits have to lead many industries to explore this sector for better growth and higher employment seriously. Numerous well-known brands like Louis Vuitton, Clarks, and Burton get their products manufactured from Indian small scale industries. Such cases are on the rise, and the Indian leather industry can prove to be a game-changer for itself, people working in it, and for the nation itself.
Said all these, the leather industry faces a tough time due to issues like pollution by this industry, poor healthcare of the employees working in the industry, and dropping of global demand has lead to the slowdown in the industry.
Moreover, the Covid-19 pandemic has hampered the demand and production of leather, and it’s products drastically. This is an unprecedented event like the world has never seen before. But the world will emerge as more potent as it always has. As the demand will kick-off, the leather industry will be back in the game! This industry holds a bright future of everyone that is directly or indirectly a part of this industry.