The Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI), the apex association of the apparel industry, has welcomed the Union Budget, as positive and growth oriented for the apparel industry. In a statement, Rahul Mehta, President CMAI, says 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 FM 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 per cent 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 additional momentum to hiring of workers by the apparel industry.
Referring to the reduction of women employees' contribution towards EPF to 8 per cent for the first three years, Mehta pointed out workers in the apparel industry will be among the primary beneficiaries of this provision, since the sector extensively employed women. He also thanked the FM for enhancing the turnover limit from Rs 50 crore to Rs 250 crore for eligibility to the reduced corporate tax rate of 25 per cent and sated that a large number of units in the apparel sector would benefit from this. He stated 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 added 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.