India's Leather Industry Holds Key to Generate Employment for the Youth. Here's how

The industry is expected to grow to $9 billion by 2020 and generate additional 2 million jobs

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Despite India's leather and footwear industry commanding 13% of global market share, the contribution towards the gross domestic product (GDP) is low. While leather and leather products industry contributes 1 per cent to GDP, the footwear industry is a tad above at 2 per cent.


However, the Centre is aggressively pushing the industry as it is believed the $5.85-billion industry can become a $9-billion one by 2020 and create employment opportunities. India is the second-largest producer of leather garments and footwear across the world.

Mahendra Nath Pandey, minister for skill development and entrepreneurship (MSDE), at a recent event said the leather sector is export-driven and has the capability to employ an additional 2 million Indians in the next five years. The sector employs around 2.5 million people at present. Pandey was speaking at an event in Chennai wherein certificates of recognition were distributed among deserving candidates from the leather industry.

In the Union Budget 2019, export duty on raw and semi-finished leather materials were rationalised to increase opportunities in the sector. "The government of India has allowed 100% foreign direct investment in the sector and rationalized export duty on raw and semi-finished leather," said Pandey.

Mochi Swabhimaan Initiative

The Mochi Swabhimaan initiative was launched during the event. The nation-wide activity will extend support to the cobbler community through corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds in order to give the community a better working environment. All eligible corporates need to spend 2 per cent of their average net profit of last three years on CSR activities.

The event emphasized that fashion and trends have a great influence on the leather industry and there are many opportunities for entrepreneurship in traditional leather trade and new forms of leather substitutes both in the basic as well as luxury segments having potential for exports.

Pandey urged SMEs and MSMEs to review their manufacturing processes in terms of quality of output and reduce wastage.