Keshav Dewangan, a third-generation handloom worker, recently lost his job as a a textile power loom unit operator in Raigarh (Chhattisgarh) The reason: the recent slowdown in the US and Europe and its cascading effect on India’s textile sector.
Dewangan had never imagined that something called “slowdown” would hit the unit so badly and make him jobless.
“We never heard that due to some economic problem far abroad, our power loom unit here have to bear the brunt,” Dewangan told HT.
According to a latest Labour Bureau report, employment contracted in handloom and powerloom, leather, metal, gems and jewellery segments, mainly dominated by the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), due to various factors, with slowdown at the forefront (see graphics).Another report prepared by the Apparel Export Promotion Council has mentioned that the textile sector has been hit hard due to slowdown, with a large number of people losing jobs in last two years.
“Slowdown has almost completely stifled the employment growth in MSME-dominated sectors and as a result, power loom and handloom segment, a key supplier to the textile industry faced the heat, resulting in job losses,” said Anil Bhardwaj, secretary-general, Federation of Indian Micro & Small and Medium Enterprises.
This fear of losing jobs has also resulted in a shift in job pattern in micro and small enterprises sector, with industrial labourers in semi-urban and rural areas opting for jobs under NREGA projects in return of assured remuneration.
“After five months I got a job under the NREGA scheme to support my family,” said Dewangan.