Recently, the India’s Ministry of Textiles announced that USA has removed Indian carpets from the list of products “produced by forced labour or child labour in violation of international norms.” The US Dept. of Labor quickly clarified that it hasn’t taken such a decision and would comment upon after studying the findings of an undergoing research report.
The Indian carpets industry used to be largely unorganized in the 90s where in few instances of such violations were observed, however as this sector is getting more regularised, such practises has significantly reduced. The US Dept. of Labor has a strict policy against import of those articles or products where in child labour violations have been reported. Unfortunately, carpets from India is currently included on such a list.
Let us take a brief view of the Indian carpet industry and why exclusion from this list is very important for our carpet manufacturers.
Carpet industry is one of the oldest industries in India. It is said that, carpet weaving was brought to India by the Moguls. Due to easy availability of resources, carpet manufacturing was restricted mostly to northern India. Major centers of carpets production have been Bhadohi, Agra, Jaipur & Kashmir.
Indian carpet industry’s main strength lies in talented artistic weavers, lower cost of production, willingness to innovate and ability to offer a diverse variety to the buyers. Having talked about its uniqueness and strength, India has its fair share of weaknesses as well. The sector has largely remained unorganized and hence the lack of professionalism and the existence of trade malpractices is quite common.
Another factor, which eats into their profits is the over dependence on the agents due to less awareness about the various marketing options available to the sellers. Other negative factors include poor infrastructure, informal training and unhealthy competition at the domestic level. Last but not the least, scant respect for IPR, which results in massive duplicacy of designs and patterns which further dampens a weaver’s urge to innovate.
Experts believe that, there are still a plethora of opportunities for Indian carpets suppliers and manufacturers to improvise further e.g.
- Emergence of new markets.
- Growing disenchantment of the world community with the Chinese manufacturing industry.
- Availability of better technology to lower down the cost of production to remain competitive.
- Heavy Investment of foreign majors in the Indian carpet segment.
- Acknowledgment of Indian weaver’s talent in the global arena.
In the end it can be fairly concluded that the Indian carpet industry is going through a massive transformation. The fact that the traditional markets have saturated, has forced the carpets suppliers to exploit newer and emerging markets. The Indian carpets industry is looked upon by the world community as one of the game changers. Carpet suppliers from India will find it difficult to compete globally unless and until, it addresses some serious confrontational social issues. The time is ripe for Indian carpets manufacturers to begin their dominance over the world market of carpets provided they resolve the issues raised in a reasonable time.