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TEXTILE MILLS- No Tears for Traders

THE private sector cannot be expected to take kindly to the take-over of any enterprise by the government. And yet the take-over of the 13 textile mills would seem to be the most lenient way of dealing with the managements which had reduced these mills to the present deplorable plight.

Textile Industry-What Next

The Union government's take-over of 13 sick textile mills in Bombay once again brings to the fore the various conflicting interests which operate within the country's oldest industry.

Textile Industry-Putting Sickness to Use

Union Commerce Minister V P Singh apparently underestimated the influence of the Bombay textile mill owners' lobby over his party's government and has hence been forced to retrace his steps. The prolonged strike by roughly two lakh textile workers in Bombay's textile mills, organised by Datta Samant's Mumbai Girni Kamgar Union, has petered out. About 15,000 workers have been retrenched following modernisation in some of the reopened mills. And another 36,000 workers are yet to get back their jobs owing to the alleged sickness of 12 mills which are at present virtually closed. Maharashtra's Chief Minister Vasantdada Patil and leaders of the Congress(I)'s Rashtriya Mill Mazdoor Sangh, in their discussions with the Commerce Minister during the latter's visit to Bombay on September 26, pressed for government take-over of the sick mills.

The Textile Puzzle

Cloth production has been lagging behind Plan targets and the Per capita availability has also been on the decline. The annual average for the last three years (1980-83) works out to only 14.36 metres (10.44 metres of cotton cloth and 3.92 metres of blended and manmade fibre fabrics). This is well below the 1964 figure of 16.83. metres (15.21 metres of cotton cloth and 1.62 metres of other fabrics).

Textile Industry-Widening Gap

THE textile industry, burdened with huge stocks, appears to be undergoing a transformation. The strike in Bombay's 60 textile mills is estimated to have led to a production loss of 1,400 million metres, i e roughly half the annual output of the organised sector of the industry, over about an 18-month period in 1982 and 1983. But despite this fall in production, stocks with the mills at the end of May had risen to 166.000 bales (of 1,500 metres each) compared to 155,000 bales at May-end last year.

Handlooms Face Liquidation-Powerlooms Mock at Yojana Bhavan

A substantial portion of powerloom production of cloth, it is well known, is shown as handloom production. This is not an innocent error; it is a smoke-screen for concealing the cannibalisation of hand- looms by powerlooms. The resultant loss of employment in weavers' households is unimaginable; and one-half of those who lose their jobs are women since women engage in pre-weaving processes and, in certain areas, in weaving as well.

LABOUR-Textile Strike Turns Political

Three hundred thousand workers marched in pouring rain in Bombay on August 1, bring Bombay's strike of 250,000 textile workers, the largest in history, to a new level of political confrontation with the Congress(I). "Without destroying the anti-working class power of Congress, the basic problems of textile workers and other sections of workers cannot be solved", declared the workers' leader, Datra Samant. Other union representatives, women's organisation representatives, and activists of the Lai Nishan Party called for workers' take-over of factories, recalled China's 'long march' and stressed the transformation of the workers' struggle into a political one.

Bombay Textile Workers-After the Strike

As Bombay's textile workers have gone back to work, following the petering out of Datta Samant's long strike, the millowners, it is clear, have extracted the maximum advantage out of their helplessness. And the state government, not surprisingly, instead of exercising its powers, is pretending to be leaving it to the courts to provide justice to the workers.

Textile Machinery-Slump In Demand

After registering a steady growth from Rs 95 crore in 1977 to Rs 259 eiore in 1981, the value of output of textile machinery dropped to Rs 229 crore. in 1982. The outlook for 1983 is not much better as there are no signs of improvement in domestic demand which is the industry's mainstay.

Textile Sickness- Finance No Cure

How sick is the cotton textile industry? Very sick indeed, NTC mills (112) and those run by some of the state corporations — accounting for nearly 17 per cent of the industry's total spindleage and 25 per cent of the loomage — are all on the sick list since long. In the private sector, some 25 per cent of the mills, representing nearly 25 per cent of the industry's total spindleage and 30.5 per cent of the ioomage, are said to belong to this category. Taken together, 45 per cent of the total spinning capacity and 60 per cent of the weaving capacity are accounted for by sick units.

Cotton-Many Santa Clauses

Because of the long drawn-out Bombay textile strike, cotton prices continued to decline from the onset of the new season to December-end. In January they remained steady. And in February the cotton market made an about-turn.

Textiles and Industrial Growth

The latest Economic Survey points to a sluggish increase in GNP of only 2 per cent during 1882-83 '(compared to 5.2 per cent in 1981-82) owing to a down-turn in agricultural output and a slower growth in industry. However, while the rate of growth of agricultural output is lower by about 2

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