Old aggressor Pakistan may have failed to occupy any new Indian territory after 1948 but it has captured a major share of the country's sports goods market.
Even China's dumping cheaper items into the country has hurt the native industry, especially in Punjab, where Jalandhar's cottage units are going out of competition.
The state government has not come out with any tax exemption to match the concessions given in Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh.
Taking the stick from Vietnam
Vietnam-made soccer balls, baseball bats, cricket balls, and hockey sticks have bruised the local industry further. Chinese companies have outsourced manufacturing to these units to cash in on cheap labour.
Pakistan-made fibreglass and composite-material hockey sticks have pushed Punjab's wooden hockey sticks to the sidelines, taking away at least 30% of the local market share by playing professional.
Rugby Exports India owner Sunil Malhotra blames more than one factor for the decline of sports goods industry in Punjab. "Our turnover from export is reduced to just `400 crore. The Pakistani and Chinese sports-goods industries have made an impact," he said.
Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Chile are major buyers of sports goods, and the manufacturers in Punjab hire 50,000 workers. Sports goods manufacturer Ravinder Dhir, who is also Vyapar Sena-Punjab president, said the value-added tax (VAT) and other duties had ruined the state's sports industry. "Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh acted in time to withdraw all taxes on sports goods," said Dhir.
Now the manufacturers in Jalandhar import goods from China, Pakistan and other countries, re-brand them, and sell in India. "The sports industry has innovated to save itself from starvation," said Dhir.
Ball makers hit
The leather-ball industry in Punjab had taken a hit when Meerut in Uttar Pradesh had started manufacturing the product. The leather comes from Uttar Pradesh itself and making the balls there is cheaper.
Sports Goods Manufacturers and Exporters Association chairman Raghunath Rana said Pakistan and China had better technology. "Pakistan makes composite hockey sticks and China produces machine-made soccer balls against the hand-stitched products in India," he added.
Federation of Associations of Small Industries of India (FASII) national president Badish Jindal said the lack of marketing and technology had taken the native sports industry into a dark future. "The Punjab industry failed to upgrade, and there was no support from the central and state governments," he regretted.