Agra footwear relying on Modi's Make in India for a jump-start against China

Having faced a serious setback in international export figures during the first half of the year, the Agra Footwear Industry is now shifting its focus towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Make in India', which has become the focus of this year's Meet at Agra, the annual international footwear components fair held in Agra since 2007.

Talking to India Today, Puran Dawar, President of Agra Footwear Exporters and Manufacturers Chamber (AFMEC), said that although the Agra footwear industry had been persevering despite tremendous odds in the global market, this year it has shown a downward trend for the first time in several years and to combat this negative growth, the footwear industry is now realigning its focus towards bringing international brands to manufacture in India, instead of relying on exporting indigenous brands.

He said that the target was to 'Make in India with Zero Defect and Zero Effect', which meant that the quality of footwear produced in Agra should be above all standards, while its effect on the environment should be minimum, to the point of being Zero. The 'Meet at Agra' fair, which begins on Oct. 30th - 1st November will have several technical seminars in the direction of acquainting the representatives of the local footwear industry as well as those of the over a dozen participating countries, with Prime Minister Modi's vision.

He said that today, India is supplying barely 1.24 percent of the American footwear needs, while China has captured over 60 percent, but the Indian footwear was slowly gaining a foothold and soon, with India also excelling in the production of synthetic footwear, this gap will lessen to the extent of becoming competitive.
Nazir Ahmed, Chairman of Park Exports and Former President of AFMEC said that there was a time when most of the footwear components used in the manufacture of Agra shoes were imported, but today, less than 10 percent of the components actually have to be imported and soon that percentage will be reduced to zero with the Mega Leather Cluster coming up in Agra.

He said that the Meet at Agra fair was witnessing a 25 percent increased participation in its 9th year and this was a testament to the increasingly dominant position India was acquiring in the leather footwear segment in the world. In fact, he said, in any reputed European footwear shop, at least 20-25 percent of leather shoes are actually manufactured and even branded in Agra.

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