Santosh Kumar Gangwar
Union Minister of State for Water Resources, Ganga Rejuvenation and Textiles Santosh Kumar Gangwar (right) at the 53rd India International Garment Fair in New Delhi on Monday, 14 July, 2014. (a file photo)PIB

Buyers from 59 countries are visiting the three-day-long 53rd India International Garment Fair, which was inaugurated by Santosh Kumar Gangwar, the Union Minister of State for Textiles, in New Delhi on Monday.

Textile exhibitors from across the length and breadth of India, including Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Mumbai, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Bangalore, Orissa and Punjab have opened stalls at the exhibition.

Gangwar said that India has the significant advantage of a young population, offering huge potential for a demographic dividend.

"The apparel sector, being the highest employment provider after agriculture, especially for women and the other weaker section of society, has a much bigger role and responsibility to play," an official statement quoted the minister.

Gangwar expressed his happiness over the inauguration of the biggest garment fair in South Asia.

"This fair will provide the much-needed opportunity to source garment from India. The whole world is looking at us with hope. This sector, which yields rich dividend in terms of forex earnings by exports and highest employment potential, has received attention at the highest level," he said.

The minister also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reviewed the performance of the sector and attached high importance to it.

Secretary of Textiles Zohra Chatterji said that due to the initiatives taken by the Textiles Minister "the Budget saw an increase in the duty free entitlement for import of trimmings, embellishments and other specified items from three percent to five percent of the value of their exports for apparel sector".

Virender Uppal, Chairman Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC), stated that the 53rd IIGF has attracted 416 buyers, which are divided almost 50:50 between the traditional and non- traditional market.

Uppal stated that this is an indication that the buyers from the non-traditional markets have started showing faith and see India to be a safe and compliant destination for sourcing garments. Exploring and engaging with the non-traditional market is the need of the hour, because most of them are emerging economies and are willing to source their requirements from India.

"Our strategy is to synergize the complementarities and harmonize our expertise and resources for optimal results. However, in no way we would undermine the traditional markets as they constitute the major share of our export basket," Uppal pointed out.

Buyers from across the globe including Brazil, the UK, the US, Turkey, South Africa, Russia, Poland, Japan, UAE, Australia, Hong Kong, UK, Spain, Australia are visiting the fair.

The big buyers includes One Jeanswear Group from USA, Grupo Hotelshops, Mexico, Alpelo Conf. Ltd from Brazil, OSP Group (Red Cat) from USA, Cape Union Mart from South Africa, PJSC Melon Fashion Group from Russia, The Original Factory Shop from the UK, Cortefiel from Spain and Lulu International from UAE. 416 buyers from 59 counties have confirmed their visit to the fair, the government said.

Fashion shows will be held twice a day during all the three day fair to showcase the range of design and emerging fashion trends. The Best Display Award Function will be held on 15 July where three Trophies - Gold, Silver and Bronze - and six Certificates of merit will be given to the best displayed stalls during the fair.