ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Textile IndustrySubscribe to Textile 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.

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

LABOUR-Minimum Wages for Industrial Workers

It was in 1946 that Bombay textile workers won the right to a minimum wage for the whole industry, a wage that was supposed to be related to the needs of a worker (rather, of the worker's family) and not to the capitalists so-called capacity to pay. The 1946 Award based the minimum wage on the diet recommendation of Dr Aykroyd, the then Director of the Nutrition Research Laboratories at Coonoor, which laid down a minimum daily intake of 2.600 calorics for an adult working six hours in India. Even at that time this recommendation was regarded as being too low. Given that (he League of Nations Nutrition Commission had recommended 2,400 calories the energy requirement for basic diet (i e, without work) for workers in temperate countries and 75 calories per hour of moderate work, 3,000 calories would be the requirement for eight hours of moderate work.

Labour Legislation and Working Class Movement

Sumit Guha has written a critical comment (June 26) on my paper "Labour Legislation and Working Class Movement'' (Special Number, November 1981). I had argued that the retardation in the growth of an organised working class movement in the Bombay textile industry undoubtedly had something to do with or must even chiefly be attributed to the institution of a labour officer under the 1934 Act. Guha, in his comment, contends that the trade union movement went tram strength to strength in. the latter part of the 1930s and suspects me of having swallowed uncritically the labour officers own reports'

Cotton-Many-Sided Pressures

The Cotton Advisory Board (CAB) had prepared the cotton balance-sheet for the 1981-82 season in October 1981. It had estimated that total availability of cotton in the season would be 9 lakh bales less than that in 1980-81 and total offtake almost the same, so that stocks at the end of the season would be lower.

Labour Legislation and Working Class Movement

In his article (Special Number, November 1981) Dick Kooiman has argued that the chief explanation for the weak and disorganized condition of the Bombay working class movement in the period 1934-37 was "the institution of the labour officer", which by appropriating the main function of the unions, prevented them from gaining strength. But even a vestigial acquaintance with the history of the Bombay workers' movement suffices to disprove this.


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