The Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI), the apex association of the apparel industry of the country, has welcomed the Union Budget presented in Parliament by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on 1st February 2018 as positive and growth oriented for the apparel industry.
In a statement, Rahul Mehta, President CMAI, said that in addition to certain specific provisions for this industry, the general focus of the Budget on rural economy, including significant fund allocations, would help in pushing up demand for apparel in the domestic market. He also welcomed the added emphasis on infrastructure development and stated that apparel manufacturing involved significant domestic transportation of raw materials as well as finished goods and infrastructural bottlenecks have been hindering this industry.
Mehta thanked the Finance Minister for enhancing the allocation for the Special Scheme for the apparel sector from Rs 6,000 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 7,148 crore for 2018-19. While extending government contribution of 12 percent towards EPF of new employees, which was an element in the special package, to all sectors, its applicability has also been extended to the next three years. This will provide an additional momentum to hiring of workers by the apparel industry, he said.
Referring to the reduction of women employees’ contribution towards EPF to 8 percent for the first three years, Mehta pointed out that workers in apparel industry will be among the primary beneficiaries of this provision, since the sector extensively employed women.
He also thanked the Finance Minister for enhancing the turn over limit from Rs 50 crore to Rs 250 crore for eligibility to the reduced corporate tax rate of 25 percent and stated that a large number of units in the apparel sector would benefit from this. He added that the enhanced economic growth envisaged in the Budget will help in improving demand for apparel, which is one of the primary needs of the masses.
Mehta concluded that the positive impact of the Budget on the apparel industry will also be reflected in job creation, since this is the most labour intensive industry in the country.