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Garment industry in Bangladesh UPSC NOTE

 First 3 largest textile exporter countries

  • Bangladesh is the world’s second-largest exporter of fast fashion, or RMG.

  •  China is first in row , accounting for 85% of the country’s exports earnings of $55 billion in 2022.

  • It has a global market share of almost 8%.

  •  The RMG sector’s main markets are the U.S., the U.K., Europe and Canada, with H&M being the top importer. 

Issues in Industry

  • Environmental impact: The textile industry is a major contributor to environmental pollution, with the use of toxic chemicals, water pollution, and air pollution. The industry also generates a large amount of waste, both from the production process and from discarded clothing

  • Labor exploitation: The textile industry has a long history of labor exploitation, with workers in developing countries often being subjected to low wages, long hours, and dangerous working conditions. 

  • Circular fashion: The "fast fashion" trend of producing low-cost, disposable clothing has led to an increase in textile waste. Consumers are demanding more sustainable fashion options, such as clothing made from recycled materials or produced in fair-trade factories. 

  • Technological disruption: The textile industry is undergoing a period of rapid technological disruption, with new technologies such as 3D printing and artificial intelligence having the potential to revolutionize the way clothing is produced. 

  • Supply chain issues: The global supply chain has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and other factors. This has led to shortages of raw materials, higher prices, and longer delivery times. 

  • In addition to these global challenges, the textile industry is also facing a number of country-specific challenges. 

  • For example, the textile industry in the United States is facing increased competition from overseas manufacturers, while the textile industry in India is facing challenges from rising labor costs and environmental regulations.

Recent issue in Bangladesh

  • It has been over five years since 2018, when Bangladesh’s Minimum Wage Board fixed a rate of BDT 8,000 for fast fashion sector workers.

  • Unlike a universal base wage, Bangladesh follows a system of setting minimum wages for each sector of the economy, which is revised every five years. 

  • In the past four years, the country has witnessed steep inflation exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and more recently, the volatility in oil prices fuelled by the Russia-Ukraine war

  • The country’s apex bank, the Bangladesh Bank, has pegged inflation of a 12-month, monthly average at 9.37% in October 2023.

Recent issue in Bangladesh

  • Which is a more than 2% point rise from 7.23% in the corresponding period last year

  • This has priced out essentials like food and fuel for a vast number of Bangladeshis.

  • Garment worker unions rejected a more than 50% raise in minimum wage proposed by Sheikh Hasina’s government earlier this month, saying it is too little too late. 

  • They have stuck to their demand of nothing short of BDT 23,000, which they proposed in April this year, when minimum wage negotiations began.

  • Several economists, including the Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies peg a minimum monthly living wage at BDT 33,368 ($302), for garment workers in a January 2023 report.

  • Moreover, Bangladesh’s foreign exchange reserves have more than halved from a high of $48 billion in 2021 to less that $20 billion in mid-October of this year, according to the International Monetary Fund. 

  • The Sheikh Hasina-led government has taken strict austerity measures such as stifling imports of luxury goods. 

  • But the import curbs have also affected the functioning of the RMG sector

  • The sector has cited price rise, import curbs and frequent power cuts as reasons for their inability to pay higher than what has been proposed.


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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Garment industry in Bangladesh UPSC NOTE
Garment industry in Bangladesh UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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