Outlook, Role and Vision of Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) of India

By Sameer Pushp

New Delhi, Sep 10, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio / PIB India) Born in 1978, Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) is a sponsored body under the Ministry of Textiles. Build and lived to its mandate of Apparel and Garments export promotions in India; it tells the saga of the bygone era.  From just being a quota monitoring entity, AEPC is today a powerful body for the promotion and facilitation of garment manufacturing and their exports. AEPC is endowed with the power to create myth, transcending moments of apparel export history as a narrative of extraordinary time. This body has recorded amazing kaleidoscopic breadth of events– witness of good and bad business environment. AEPC has often triumphant in the cause of promoting apparel export with the cooperation and stupendous talent of exports across India. Initially started with a just one office, with a passage of time it has grown to be the largest Export Promotion Council having membership of nearly 8000 from amongst large Corporate Houses, Star Trading Houses, Small & Medium Scale Units (SME), Trading Houses, etc. Out of the total membership of the Council, 85% constitutes the SMEs.

AEPC is the official body of apparel exporters in India that provides invaluable assistance to Indian exporters as well as importers/international buyers who choose India as their preferred sourcing destination for garments.  For Indian exporters, AEPC is quite literally a one-stop shop for information; advise, technical guidance, workforce and market intelligence. Members have access to updated trade statistics, potential markets, information on international fairs and assistance in participating at these fairs. It also plays a large role in identifying new markets and leading trade delegations to various countries. In recent years AEPC has worked tirelessly in integrating the entire industry - starting at the grass root level of training the workforce and supplying a steady stream of man power to the industry; identifying the best countries to source machinery and other infrastructure and brokering several path breaking deals for its members and finally helping exporters to showcase their best at home fairs as well as be highly visible at international fairs the world over.

The steady growth in the production and exports of apparel and garments from India has been the continuous journey of innovation and setting up quality standards in manufacturing and delivering services. This is evident as an ISO 9001:2000 and SA:8000 certified organization. Right from its inception organization been insisting the exporting community on the quality parameter – and the Council itself has the distinction for designing and execution of exhibition management services and provision of specialized management, educational, consulting and public relation services to apparel industry. As part of its philanthropic and skill development activity AEPC is working a strong supply chain for boosting the apparel industry. Today, AEPC runs 106 Apparel Training & Design Centre (ATDC) and more than 85,000 students trained mainly from weaker section of Society. It also manages the Institutes of Apparel Management (IAM) – “India’s First Apparel Multi Varsity” campus in Gurgaon. ATDC has emerged as India’s largest vocational Training Network for the Apparel Sector with over 75 ATDCs including 25 ATDC-IGNOU Community Colleges and over 50 SMART Centers and Skill Camps at present in major Apparel clusters spread across 20 states Pan India.  ATDC’s aim is to train skilled workforce for the rapidly growing export and domestic sectors of the Apparel Industry and upgrade the technical skills to improve quality, productivity and efficiency in a global context.

Institutes of Apparel Management was established in 2007 with an intention to create professionals for “Business of Fashion” for Fashion, Textiles & Lifestyle Industry. IAM has been very instrumental to train Designers, Design Professionals, Design Managers, Designer Merchandisers, Quality Professionals etc. with a broad base knowledge of applied Management skills, competencies & understanding the dynamics of Apparel business in global context. IAM has for the first time in India developed the most contemporary and sought after Full time programmes and an array of Modular CE programmes which will give every individual an opportunity to upgrade their professional skills, key competencies & knowledge by moving up in the knowledge value chain.

AEPC’s ‘Skill Assessment Cell’ is setup with an objective to identify and consider the skill certification for early school leavers and existing workers, especially working in the unorganized sector. The project works in association with Ministry of Labour & Employment it seeks to develop a new strategic framework for skill development in close consultation with industries. This initiative is helping in boosting the morale, and uplifting the social status of workforce. Now AEPC Assessment Cell has done an assessment approximately of 1500 candidates. In order to make India a world class sourcing hub for apparel industry project DISHA (Driving Industry towards Sustainable Human Advancement) was started. This is an initiative of AEPC under umbrella of MOT for facilitating & preparing Indian apparel manufacturers towards becoming more socially and environmentally responsible industry. The programme aims at capacity building of the SMEs on apparel sector through cluster level and unit level trainings on gap assessment and remediation of the same.

In the current fiscal year apparel exporters are facing problem in getting more orders as the rupee is falling and possibility of getting business from US and EU is little hazy. Some of the SMEs are not able to utilize the 60% of installed capacity, which in turn is affecting their profitability. Decline in orders and less utilization of installed capacity, stiff competition from south Asian and south East Asian nations are the major reasons for the lost in jobs. If we look at the import of major market like USA and EU which contributed 80% of our total export to world have registered decline in volume wise import which suggests that in term of quantity export are not increasing which is affecting the orders. Decline in order leads to the shutting down of the units subsequently loss in jobs and business.

To resist the jolt of world economic crisis we have made certain strategies where in we are emphasizing the diversification of market base.  To diversify the market this year we are organizing mega show in Tokyo, Japan which is the third largest importer in world and India’s share in import is less than 1%. Success of this show may bring huge apparel business to India as Indian has already concluded India-Japan CEPA and has become effective since August 2011.  Under the agreement duty free apparel import has been allowed in Japan since August 2011. We are organizing buyer’s seller meet in Tel Aviv, Israel; Barcelona and Madrid in Spain and New York in USA. We have also planned mega apparel show called magic fair in USA.

AEPC resourcefulness to take calculated risk braving all odds, perceptible across all circumstances, is the key fuel for the India’s apparel export growth. With AEPC’s expertise and initiatives India’s apparel exports are sure to grow stronger each year in their achievements, skills and proficiency, while international buyers get superior solutions for their garments exports.

(PIB Features.)

Disclaimer:  The views expressed by the author in this article are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of PIB or WBRi.

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