In tatters

Textile industry woes exposed by government figures

Published: Friday 15 October 2004

statistics with the Union ministry of textiles (mot) point at a major slump in the textile industry. Textile mills have been downing their shutters at an average rate of one mill per week. The fact that the textile industry is the second largest employer in the country accentuates the severity of the crisis. As many as 248 mills of the country were closed from July 1999 to April 2004, rendering 329,402 workers jobless.

Jobless hands
Too many textile mills closing too fast

Name of the Number of state

Number of mills closed from July 1999 to April 2004

Number of workers rendered jobless

Tamil Nadu









Uttar Pradesh



Andhra Pradesh



Source: Anon 2004, Cotton/Manmade Fibre Textile Mills Closure Report, Union Ministry of Textiles, mimeo
Maximum closures took placein Tamil Nadu, followed by Andhra Pradesh, Maharashatra, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh (see table: Jobless hands). So says the mot document, made available to the Indian Cotton Mills Federation (icmf), New Delhi -- the national association of textile mill owners -- for preparing its annual report. The statistics would be released towards the end of September 2004. The main reason behind the closures was financial crunch: 60 per cent mills shut down due to this factor. Labour unrests and lockouts were among the other reasons. "Financial difficulties comprise the main reason as most closures have taken place in the organised sector that employs a large labour force. Because of more liabilities, this sector gets into more financial problems," explains U K Joshi, joint secretary of icmf.

Datta Iswalkar, a member of Girni Kamgar Sanghthan, an association of textile mill workers of Mumbai, points at a possible fallout. "There are nearly 70,000 jobless workers in Ahmedabad. They easily get influenced by greedy politicians. This is one of the reasons behind Ahemdabad riots and Mumbai's case is the same."

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