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Weaving a magic
July, 06th 2006

Ten K crore by 2008. That seems to be the mantra of Tirupur's knitwear exporters, after having seen a 30 per cent growth this year, to Rs 8,000 crore of exports. To know how the magic works in the hosiery town, check Knitted Together from Partners in Change ( and Solidaridad (

The book is `an in depth analysis of the social, economic and environmental issues and concerns in the knitwear cluster of Tirupur', with an emphasis on corporate social responsibility (CSR). The Preface by Nico Roozen, Director of the Netherlands-based Solidaridad, acknowledges that CSR is "a matter of internalisation of the social and environmental costs of production into the price-making process."

A chapter on the global garment industry provides useful data about costs, sourced from Material cost, including factory profit, accounts for 13 per cent of retail price, while transportation and taxes add up to 11 per cent. Factory workers' wage is a measly 1 per cent, but brand profit is 25 per cent. The balance 50 per cent is retail shop profit and other costs.

"The domination of the garment industry by a few powerful retailers has engendered some serious concerns with regard to the existing and future wage structure in the apparel industry," notes the book. "In the US, top 10 retailers account for over two-thirds of the imports into the US. As a result of their increased bargaining strength vis--vis the suppliers/manufacturers, they even demand a profit margin of nearly 50 per cent, further placing pressure on the supplier's profit margins and hence the workers' wages."

Informative reference.

Fruits of dam

 On socio-economic and environmental theme again, here is Bhakra-Nangal Project, by R. Rangachari, from Oxford ( The book, billed as `one of the first scientific performance-analyses of a completed project in India,' studies `the incidental and indirect consequences of the dam', a.k.a. BNP.

As accountants know, a project has to be assessed from various angles. A 1955 report of the Bhakra Control Board analysed BNP's fruits, not only from the fulfilment of principal objectives but also the reaping of incidental benefits. One prominent plus is the increase in crop yield, with better irrigation. Another is poverty alleviation with `plentiful electricity for households, industries, and agriculture.' The benefits of the economic development in Punjab and Haryana have been shared both by rural and urban areas, observes Rangachari.

A section on the impact of BNP on milk production speaks of a few interesting statistics: such as that it takes roughly 7 kg of grain in feed lots to produce 1 kg gain in the live weight of animals; and that in 2001-02, India produced 84.6 million tonnes of milk, accounting for a contribution to the country's GDP that was higher than that of paddy, wheat or sugarcane.

Detailed work.

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