Sports may not, after all, be recession proof.
Indigenous sports goods industry, one of the most labour intensive sectors in the country, is facing severe shrinkage in the export order book as many industrialised countries slipped into a recession.
According to Sports Goods Exports Promotion Council of India (SGEPC), export orders have fallen by over 25 per cent to 30 per cent in last two months.
“It is feared that if the crisis prevails in the next few months, more than 50,000 workers will be rendered jobless in this industry that is scattered in and around two major manufacturing centers — Jalandhar in Punjab and Meerut in Uttar
Pradesh,” SGEPC said in a statement.
India manufactured sports goods, including cricket bats, are exported largely to the European Union, the United States of America and Australia.
Buyers have issued instructions to delay shipments which are ready for dispatch in the factories, leading to inventory glut, the SGEPC said.
Major exports are inflatable balls, hockey sticks and balls, cricket bats and balls, boxing equipment, fishing equipment, indoor games like carrom and chess boards, and protective equipment.
The council found in a survey that the top exporters had lost business worth Rs 45 crore. Last year’s total exports were Rs 500 crore.