After the government declared a nationwide ban on cattle slaughter, not only India’s leather industry but some international brands are having a tough time. Names like Marks & Spencer, Prada, Zara, Hugo Boss and Armani, who are known for their leather goods including footwear, handbags, belts, jackets and wallets, have started enquring their agents and suppliers in India regarding the leather supply. With India being one of the biggest leather suppliers to these major fashion brands, this decision from the Modi government is nothing less than a ‘death certificate’ to the leather industry.
CLA Tanners Association General Secretary Imran Ahmed Khan alleged that the centre’s decision was a fresh effort to finish off small industries and instead give a boost to multi-nationals and big companies. “The small sector will be the hardest hit. The big companies and multi-national will only gain,” he said.
The industry leaders said the ban will rob 35 million people involved with the industry of their livelihood in the country, while exports would be halved from $7 billion to $3.5 billion. Complaining that the industry was yet to overcome the crisis it faced after the demonetisation, the exporters said the latest decision would “finish our industry entirely”.
Also, leather exporter Mohammed Zia Nafis charged the centre with intentionally targeting the leather industry and alleged that the centre’s decision would only help Bangladesh, which has already eroded India’s grip over the sector. “After demonetisation, Bangladesh gained considerably at our cost. The latest decision would further strengthen Bangladesh’s position,” he said.
Turning to West Bengal, the industry leaders said 200 tanneries in the state would be shut down because of the ban. If the government sticks to its decision, it’s time to say goodbye to your favourite international brands.
(With inputs from IANS)
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