India's apparel makers have witnessed a 84 per cent drop in sales in May, according to The Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI) survey. The drop was due to shift in focus of the factories to manufacrture masks and PPE kits from garments amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The CMAI represents garments-majors like Aditya Birla Fashion and Lifestyle, Arvind Fashions, Future Group, Shoppers Stop and Raymond.
CMAI added that even after the ease in restriction, the situation for apparel factories remained grim. The clothing association said 40 per cent of factories were engaged in manufacturing of essential products like PPE products and face masks. And, other garment factories were operating at an average 25 per cent of their capacity.
Recently, CMAI wrote letters to the Minister of Textiles Smriti Zubin Irani, and the Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal to consider levying a temporary additional COVID Duty on all imports of apparel and readymade garments for a period of 12 months to create a level-playing field. CMAI asked governemnt to impose COVID duty on countries with whom India has a Free Trade Agreement, especially Bangladesh.
The suggestion was made as the garment-manufacturing body estimated that there would be more than 40 per cent drop in domestic demand of apparel due to the lockdown. It is also estimated that more than 20 per cent of the domestic units may face closure due to the COVID crisis.