India’s readymade garment exports rose 14.05 per cent in May 2019 compared to the same month last year. In 2018-19, exports dropped 3.43 per cent compared to 2017-18. After the introduction of GST and demonetisation, Indian products became costlier and exports started declining. Exports decreased year-on-year in the last two financial years. In the last six months, the average export growth was about 31.15 per cent over the corresponding period in 2017-18. From October 2018, exports increased by 12 per cent. The sector is finally turning the corner after stagnancy or slight de-growth. Bangladesh is becoming expensive and Vietnam is showing signs of reaching the peak of its capacity. China is exiting the textile sector. All this is helping Indian exports. Reduction in costs delivered by a refund of central and state taxes, new benefits under the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme and the renewed two per cent duty drawbacks have made the industry more competitive. The other advantages for India are design, value addition and skill.
Though Indian products are costlier by 10 to 15 per cent, buyers are still interested in sourcing from the country. Since it is not about the cost alone, but quality and speedy delivery, if India can improve on this, the country can once again emerge as a strong competitor.