Policy advocacy and government initiatives
Perhaps the most vital issue for the domestic footwear, leather and accessories manufacturing segment is the level of duties levied, which cumulatively stand at approximately 25% currently. A consolidation of several tax measures, the outcome is stagnation and wariness on the part of the organised sector in the footwear and leather industry. Therefore, our key policy advocacy activity is to offer a broad-based platform to players across the industry’s spectrum to raise tax-related issues with government at all levels and across the nation.
Another focus of our policy advocacy efforts is to highlight the impact on domestic industry due to the dumping of cheap and under-priced imports of footwear from China; there is no safeguard duty or anti-dumping duty on the import of footwear, leading to the Indian sector becoming more trading-oriented rather than manufacturing, leading, of course, to the resultant effect of export of jobs and currency (outflow of over 6,00,000 blue collar jobs and $250 million in forex annually apprx.) to China alone.
Our policy advocacy efforts are focussed on highlighting these legitimate concerns vis-á-vis taxation and imports, as well as in impressing upon government that rationalisation as per existing economic conditions will only encourage a greater number of companies in the unorganised sector to plan for and, eventually, become a part of the organised sector.
Extensive research and in-depth studies are an integral part of CFLA’s policy advocacy activities, and these detailed reports and arguments form the bedrock of our representations in concerned government departments and ministries, both at the Central and state government levels. While the representations are an ongoing activity, our policy advocacy activities also include opportunities for our membership to interact directly with government stakeholders on a quarterly basis through discussion meetings.
Some of our other government initiatives include development of industry clusters for state governments and setting up of research and innovation centres for the holistic development of the Indian footwear and leather industry.
Marketing and branding
Despite being one of the largest employers and accounting for 1% of the country’s GDP, the footwear and leather manufacturing segment is behind-the-curve in its marketing and branding activity, resulting in low valuations. A direct result of the unorganised nature of the industry and the consequent lack of critical mass needed to achieve long-term impact, it is widely acknowledged that the industry needs to actively embrace such activities at the company level in order to increase customer loyalty and to achieve differentiation.
CFLA’s philosophy is based on marketing and branding activities through each step of the value chain, be it the distribution and retail channel, consultants, designers, the media and, of course, the consumer. The council’s offerings in this area touch each critical aspect and are customised as per requirement. At an industry-level, our sectoral marketing and branding activities include hosting of delegation visits to industry events/fairs and industrial clusters globally.
Skills and technology upgradation
As an industry body representing the leading domestic players of the sector, CFLA offers skills and technology upgradation services through hosting of relevant workshops and training sessions, as well as tie-ups with global institutions that enable members to adopt best practices. Our skills and technology upgradation services can be customised as per requirement, with dedicated handholding and guidance on all relevant aspects.
Start-up facilitation centre
We are proud to be affiliated with the Make in India programme of the Government of India, and our services in this category cover the entire gamut of activities for setting up a footwear and leather manufacturing unit in India. From facilitating foreign direct investment (FDI) and joint ventures to assisting new domestic players, we offer a comprehensive package of start-up services that include spatial consulting, regulatory requirements and market IQ.