The ongoing pandemic caused by the deadly coronavirus may be regarded as one of the gravest humanitarian crises that has brought the entire world to a critical juncture. There seemed a ray of hope in the decline of cases in late 2020 and early 2021, which led individuals to put their guard down against the virus, thereby leading to careless flouting of COVID-19 lockdown rules. Today, we are paying a hefty price for the same, as the virus has mutated over time and emerged stronger in the second wave, which has wreaked havoc across the nation.
The pandemic has affected all sectors alike and the hosiery industry too has been no exception to the same. As innerwear is regarded as an individual’s second skin, the demand for the same had remained more or less buoyant throughout the pandemic. However, during the second lockdown which has currently been imposed by state governments across the country to help contain the spread of the virus, the demand has seen a slight fall. This time the imposed lockdowns have reduced the scope of supply of products to remote areas. As a result, there has been a drop in demand for hosiery products, which will most certainly lead to a price correction in cotton yarn during the second phase of the pandemic.
The issue of migrant labourers is also one that the hosiery industry has had to tackle during the pandemic. The outbreak of the virus has ruptured many sectors of the Indian economy and it has undoubtedly been unkindest to the vulnerable groups of our society. Since many manufacturing facilities are located in the south, many big hosiery businesses have set up hostels for labourers to provide food and lodging so that they do not lose their source of income. This will serve two purposes: it will keep production going while also restricting worker movement, which will help contain the spread of the fatal virus. In view of this, it is critical to meet the needs of stranded workers by assuring their livelihood and urging them to return. The smaller players, on the other hand, are being severely impacted as their workers return to their hometowns as a result of the forced lockdowns, causing production to halt.
The smaller players are the ones that have been facing the maximum brunt of the second wave as they are closing down their businesses due to the uncertain future. These players have had to close their doors due to overstretched working capital and liquidity, as well as increasing raw material prices. Furthermore, since the hosiery and apparel industry is largely unorganized and heavily reliant on cash and credit, smaller players are the first to be severely affected by state-level lockdowns.
The need for innovation to keep yourself afloat in turbulent times like these can be regarded as a silver lining. The limitation in movement and much needed restriction on gathering has come about as a hindrance to the growth and recovery of the hosiery industry, something it was battling in the first wave of the virus itself. However, lessons from the first wave are deemed to come in handy this time as manufacturers are extra careful and already have an understanding of how to better the situation, having dealt with this crisis already. In this regard it is imperative that the hosiery industry strengthens its digital presence, facilitating an online mode of transactions as opposed to their traditional brick and mortar stores.
The second wave of the corona virus has dealt a heavy blow to the Indian economy, as it was still recovering from the far reaching effects of the pandemic. However, this time the hosiery industry is better equipped to deal with the challenges having learnt valuable lessons from the past. A steady vaccination drive coupled with following the COVID-19 appropriate behaviour is bound to put the virus to rest and until then the Indian hosiery industry must come together to do its bit in sailing through the uncertain period.