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The Garment Industry of India

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The Garment Industry of India is an Rs -one trillion industry. Almost 33 % of its knitwear production and about 20% of its woven-garment production, both by volume, enters export markets. Overall about 25 % of the volume of its garment production goes into export markets, leaving 75 % for domestic consumption.

The Industry covers over one lakh units and employs about 6 million workers, both directly and indirectly in almost equal proportion. The indirect portion helps to sustain the direct production sector in the shape of items associated with the garment industry production including sewing/embroidery thread, buttons, buckles, zippers, metal plates, cardboard sheets, plastic butterflies and packaging material.

Organized sector of the garment industry is roughly 20% of the total industry, concentrating chiefly on exports. These are usually limited Companies while the rest are proprietary or partnership Companies.

Geographically, men's garments are largely produced in western and southern India while production of ladies garments predominates in North India. Eastern section of India specializes in children garments where in fact, these took their birth.

Fiber-wise, 80% of the production is of cotton garments, 15% of synthetic/mixed garments and the rest of silk and wool garments.

The industry manufactures over a 100 different types of garments for men, women and children. These includes overcoats/raincoats, suits, ensembles, jackets, dresses, skirts, trousers, shirts, blouses, inner-garments, T-shirts, jerseys/pullovers, babies garments as well as accessories like shawls/scarves, handkerchiefs, gloves and parts of garments.

Fabric constitutes 65 to 70% of the cost of production with labour making up a further 15% and the rest go for overheads and manufacturer's profit.

Retail trade in India is spread over department stores, hyper markets/discount stores and specialty stores. A number of shopping malls have sprung up all over the country, especially in the metros. Due to this, land prices have spiraled. Attention now shifts to "B" class, "C" class cities and the rural area.

Government policies of economic liberalization have raised incomes, encouraged women entrepreneurs resulting in a steep rise in family incomes and making available increasing levels of disposable income in their hands. This has helped to increase purchase of garments but has limited this purchase due to rise in prices of food grains on account of unseasonable weather. The benefit of economic reforms has percolated down to rural areas coupled with the spread of education. In fact, some of rural areas enjoy a life-style comparable to or even better than that enjoyed by urban folk.

For the last several years, 9 to 10% of the disposable income goes into the purchase

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