India woos luxury leather brands like Coach, Tod’s and Hermes to set up units
The push comes from the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) which is trying to boost the Make in India initiative, starting first with the highly labour-intensive leather sector. As part of the plan, DIPP will map and identify companies across the globe which could invest in India and also the states that can receive such investment.
"We are doing a focussed, targeted intervention and looking for partnerships between domestic companies and such foreign investors," a senior government official said.
A report on this is expected by the end of this month.
India has the world's largest stock of cattle, giving it access to abundant raw material for the industry.
Leather exports are projected to grow 25 per cent per annum over the next five years while the domestic market is poised to double by 2020. According to a study by the National Skill Development Corporation and growth projections of the Council of Leather Exports, the leather industry is expected to employ about 7.1 million people by 2022.
The government is also in talks with the big tanneries of the world from countries such as Brazil and Portugal to start manufacturing in India. "We want to enter the board rooms of these companies to present India as the land of opportunity. We will also talk to their bankers, consultants once we have access to such information," the official said.
DIPP is also keen on partnering with designers to train and upgrade the skills of Indian leather makers.
"India has a competitive advantage with the largest availability of hides. We need to increase our processing availability," said Arvind Singhal, chairman of retail consultancy Technopak.