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109th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING


“We must not only accept change, but welcome change,” says outgoing President of ATMA at the
109th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

Excerpts from Presidential Address by Mr Anang Lalbhai at the 109th Annual General Meeting of ATMA on July 18th 2000.

The march of the globalisation of economies has created, as Paul Kennedy observes, many opportunities, for groups or nations that are able to take advantage of the newer methods, science and technology, just as it damages others that are less prepared technologically, culturally, and politically to respond to change.For those groups or nations that cannot benefit from these changes, globalisation could be a nightmare.

 “Unfortunately, many of us in India thought that the globalisation of economies would not affect the Indian economy. We believed that the Government of India would protect all of us from the chill winds of competition that are a natural corollary of globalisation of economies. A recent news item in the Times of India shows how naïve was our belief in the Government of India. “Disaster looms over Bhiwandi as textile industry collapses” … The forces of liberalisation invaded this prosperous town about three years ago. Given the unorganised nature of the power-loom industry-with its neglect of modernisation, education and progressive business practices-the outcome was inevitable.”

 “Something similar to what happened in Bhiwandi is happening in Ahmedabad. The 5 July 2000 issue of the Times of India says, “Ratanpole is losing its customer base. Ratanpole, one of the busiest cloth markets in the heart of the city, wears a deserted look…with a sharp decrease in the number of visitors...From a saree dominated market, the pole has shifted business to ready made garments and dress material for Punjabi suits.”

“ATMA…anticipated these events. For highlighting the shape of things to come… ATMA and NIFT organised a seminar on 29 and 30 October 1999. …All most all the speakers emphasised the interdependence between the textile and the garment industries and strongly suggested that the industries should not view the low labour cost in India as a comparative advantage.

“In my presidential address last year, I pointed out that in such turbulent times, the major political parties in India should be grappling with the problem of steering the nation's destiny. Unfortunately, …all the energies of the political leaders seem concentrated on winning elections. Nobody who matters appears concerned with the governance of this large country standing at cross roads. In such difficult times, we the captains of the industry must play a more proactive role at least in the industries where we play a leadership role.

“ATMA… has started moving in this direction. Besides the seminar on textiles and clothing, ATMA conducted two other seminars on topics of interest to the industry. One was concerning the revisions in the insurance rates. The second was regarding SEBI’s guidelines on “Corporate Governance.”… In the coming year ATMA would organise many more seminars of interest to the management of the textile and the clothing industries…

“Considering ATMA’s experience of working closely with the garment industry and NIFT, I would strongly recommend that ATMA should open its doors to admit the firms in the garment industry as its members. …It is of course needless to add that ATMA must carefully formulate the eligibility criterion for deciding which of the garment firms it would admit as its members.

“On this date I have completed two terms as President of this august institution… Today, undoubtedly there is a tinge of sadness within me. However, we all must realise that the “old order changeth, yielding place to new.” We must not only accept change, but welcome change. It is only through change that we progress…