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The intense build-up to Council for Leather Exports’ elaborate fair and 19th Congress of the UITIC (International Union of Shoe Industry Technicians) reaffirmed the optimism the industry has been experiencing. Many have scoffed at the $20 billion target set for the leather sector, saying that it is too ambitious a target. But many are also of the view that India should keep its target big so that it can achieve bigger. The latter’s ambition is valid; in a country where 60% of the population is young and the middle class population is burgeoning, there is enough space for anyone to think big and also to achieve big targets. When 2015 ended with a grim air, many declared that the year witnessed slow growth and the market supposedly failed to excite many. But a closer examination proved it all wrong; brands flocked to the Indian market. At such a point the economic readjustment China has been going through gives India the opportunity to fill in gaps its neighbor has created. It is indeed rational when we set the exports target high and expect it to grow faster. But at a time when the global market has not been reliably healthy it will be unwise to put all eggs in exports basket. This the Chinese have realized, and thus their focus has been on stimulating domestic consumption and increasing FDI returns for sustainable growth and reducing its dependence on exports. Prime Minister Modi’s Make in India is undoubtedly a great initiative. We, however, hope that due with course of time it will also give abundant space to Made in India. In this ambitious backdrop, we resolved to get into handbag and sport footwear sectors and unroll the retail landscape of Mumbai, to mention a few, to point out where the industry stands. In the next issue, we will present you an elaborate report on CLE’s leather fair, Designers Fair and the 19th UITIC congress, all held in Chennai.

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