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Labour-driven exports bear the brunt of Covid-19

With orders getting cancelled, shipments delayed indefinitely, payments missed and consignments stuck at ports, India’s labour-intensive export sectors are bering the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic. Some of these sectors include leather, textiles, gems and jewellery, carpets and handicrafts.

Sectoral estimates suggest that about ₹7,600 crore of leather export orders have been cancelled, ₹2,000 crore carpet orders are stuck and handicraft sector losses are seen at ₹8,000 crore. Further,  in February 2020, India’s exports contracted 1.5% to $292.9 billion in the 11 months.

Council for Leather Exports chairman Aqeel Ahmed Panaruna told reporters “Customers are not paying invoices and all new orders are cancelled. Our American clients are not taking products that are ready for them.” Similarly, Colin Shah, vice chairman, GJEPC, and a leading diamond exporter, added “In February, when the deadly virus spread in China, Hong Kong and Far East, gems and jewellery exports had plunged by 19.37% in comparison to February 2019.”

Commerce and Industry Minister Shri Piyush Goyal will hold with the various export promotion councils on Tuesday, where these issues are likely to be voiced.