Rajya Sabha

July 24, 2017

Manish Gupta speaks on The Footwear Design and Development Institute Bill, 2017

Manish Gupta speaks on The Footwear Design and Development Institute Bill, 2017


Sir, I rise to support this Bill but must also add that the leather industry in the country is in crisis.

Over the last two to three decades, we have seen attempts to describe what should be the planning and what should be the economic growth, what should the Central Government do and what should the State Government do.

We have noticed that in the recent past, many hasty decisions have been taken by the Central Government, namely, demonetisation, the hurried implementation of GST and new rules on cow slaughter.

Economic growth can be described as a set of measures by the Government to achieve pre-set goals in the shortest possible time. But in effect, the hurried decision-making has snatched away the livelihood of many people, including those in the leather industry.

The highly labour-intensive industry has been affected by demonetisation, massive job losses and closure of tanneries, and also the new rules of GST, which have slowed down industrial activity to a great extent.

The leather industry comprises small businesses in many places and more than 3 million people are employed in this industry. So, though we support The Footwear Design and Development Institute Bill, 2017, we also, at the same time, urge that the entire thing should be looked at so that it addresses the lakhs of people that are employed in this industry.

This is one of the issues we have raised and, at the same time, we would like to point out that Kolkata holds the second position in the production and export of leather goods in India – 25% of the tanning is done in Kolkata and 50% of the finished leather goods are exported from Kolkata.

In a democracy we build institutions, we build centres for skill development and training, but at the same time, we need to encourage smaller units and planning institutions to grow and make them financially strong so that they can contribute effectively to the main effort.

This is labour-intensive, and we have noticed that 1.4 lakh people were trained at this institute. But this is a very small number and needs to be enhanced greatly, so that this Institute grows up to become an institute of national importance, and is able to serve the country in a much more comprehensive and effective manner.

Thank you.