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Boost leather sector

Leather exports from India is sluggish, so a lot more policy measures are needed for a revival

Business Standard 

With reference to Rs 2,600-cr sops to boost leather jobs” (December 16), finally, there is light at the end of the tunnel for the starving labour-intensive The package will help small and medium entrepreneurs to tide over the crisis caused by demonetisation and goods and services tax (GST)-inflated taxes on raw materials used in leather tanning and finishing. Leather exports from India is sluggish, so a lot more policy measures are needed for a revival. Most leather product exporting units demand finished hides and skins at competitive prices to increase exports. There are two types of tanning — vegetable/wattle extracts tanning and chrome tanning (using chrome sulphate) which is a pollutant. The government should promote non-pollutant vegetable tanning extracts, namely mimosa (wattle extracts) which is imported as there is no production facility in India. The only two units producing wattle extracts, located in Tamil Nadu, have been out of production ever since basic import duty on the raw material of wattle bark was hiked to an abnormal 30 per cent from zero.

The high import duty should be scrapped and the duty structure should be rationalised. This would help set up wattle extracts manufacturing units. Further, dried wattle bark too can be used for tanning the leather, which can revive several sick tanning units in Dindigul, Tamil Nadu. The raw material is available in abundance at rock-bottom prices in East Africa and South America. If measures are taken to utilise this material, it could result in foreign exchange savings to the tune of $22 million annually, besides increasing overall exports of leather products, and generating employment to a large number of skilled and unskilled workers in the leather hubs of Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. A rationalised duty structure will enable exporters to compete with countries such as China, Vietnam and Bangladesh which are enjoying competitive advantages because of zero import duties on all raw materials in this sector. The manufacturing units can also facilitate production of Myrobolan extracts and further assist its exports since India is a major producer.

A Sathyanarayana, New Delhi can be mailed, faxed or e-mailed to: The Editor, Business Standard Nehru House, 4 Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg New Delhi 110 002 Fax: (011) 23720201 • E-mail: All must have a postal address and telephone number

First Published: Mon, December 18 2017. 22:37 IST