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AEPC appeals for uninterrupted manufacturing at factories

29 April 2021: Concerned over imposition of lockdowns due to resurgence in Covid-19, Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) has urged the government to keep factories free from lockdowns and requested for essential service sector tag for the labour-intensive apparel export industry.

For ensuring uninterrupted manufacturing at factories, the Council has written letters to Home Minister Amit Shah, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Textiles Minister Smriti Zubin Irani, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, their Secretaries and Chief Ministers of some states including Tamilnadu.

“The industry, which supports over 13 million workers directly and many more indirectly, in rural and backward areas and largely comprises MSMEs, will be severely impacted by the disruption, if the lockdown is again imposed in the factories,” AEPC Chairman Dr. A. Sakthivel wrote in his letters to the government.

All factories have been taking stringent measures and following strict health protocols, as per the MHA guidelines and other advisories. The regular tests and check-ups are also being done, he said. The apparel exporters are willing to follow even more strict safety measures but would want to avoid even partial lockdowns.

“It is requested that the work at the factories are not disrupted by lockdown and we also request for exempting the apparel export industry as an essential service sector,” the Chairman said, adding that such lockdowns create widespread disruption and impact not just in the short term but also the long term health of the industry.

Dr. Sakthivel said that the apparel export industry recently got back on track, migrant labourers were back, orders have started stabilizing and exports are looking up. “The lockdown, at this point, will disrupt the last one year of hard work put in by the industry in getting back on the global map and on the survival path,” he said.

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