Chairman's word for December

Dear Friends,
Over the last twenty three months, every month, I have had the privilege of writing to you about AEPC to communicate with you- recognize our accomplishments, to address our challenges and to share with you our outlook and plans for the future. It seems like just a short while ago, when I composed my first Chairman’s word. More than 8,300 members participated on the journey as I tried to lead!
As we gear up to welcome 2018, yet another year closer to future, there are windows of new opportunities opening up to the industry. State governments have offered a slew of benefits in terms of subsidized capital, interest, wages and logistic support to new set ups on their land, well recognizing the high potential of our sector.  AEPC State Partnership Committee has been proactive in making this work well and encouraging exporters to avail this opportunity in West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Bihar, among others.
At AEPC, we have been working to synchronize the working between our various departments and branches and are bringing together disjointed sets of initiatives to lead to a significant performance-enhancing change. This reflected evidently in the recent coordination of state branches in bringing to the forefront some issues being faced by exporters.
While some pertinent issues continue to plague the industry, the doubling of MEIS rates has been an encouraging move by the Government. My gratitude to the Honorable Finance Minister and the Honorable Textiles Minister for favourable consideration of our recommendations! I want to assure you all that no stone has been left unturned to ease out the pressures being faced and rewrite the growth story of export figures, that have been affected by the recent reforms. I have conveyed the sentiments of the industry and requested the Honorable Finance Minister for a solution during our meeting on 30 Nov 2017. We have urged for extension of the pre GST drawback and RoSL support, till the full implication of the GST on the apparel industry can be studied and commensurate support evaluated by the Government.
Our usual export promotion initiatives continued through the month. The first in the series of multi city seminars, on fashion trends forecast, organized by AEPC in association with WGSN, kickstarted in Gurgaon.  Ms. Kim Mannino - Head of WGSN LIVE from WGSN London office spoke on the event. Four key trend stories, supported by samples of fabrics and apparel, were presented to a houseful of designers, merchandisers and exporters. The ninth edition of BSM, Spain, concluded successfully in Madrid, followed by a very well received participation in International Sourcing Expo, organised by FIEO, in Australia.
At AEPC, we attach great importance to our Export Awards. On this occasion, on 18 December 2017, we will honour those who have demonstrated outstanding vision in making a significant and unique impact on the industry, while achieving success for their organization and India, in the international marketplace.   We gather to strongly demonstrate the power and the spread of representation of our Indian Apparel Export community and confirm our willingness to appreciate the winners as creative contributors to our common endeavours. The Awards ceremony, this year, will record several firsts - from new award categories, to an illustrious presence of leaders, both political and bureaucratic to a new event format. I am pleased to let you know that we are also organising a POWERgroup Discussion, to be moderated and telecast by CNBC Tv18, on the occasion. The AEPC POWERgroup discussion intends to bring together decision and policy makers, focused business representatives and important stake holders, engaged in the promise of designing and acting for the future of the Indian Apparel Industry.
As I prepare to hand over the baton to our new Chairman, Shri HKL Magu, in January 2018, I would like to share my sense of optimism  in the vast opportunity this industry has under his able leadership, in being the nation's pride and partner in its growth story. I would also like you all to know that I have not travelled my AEPC journey alone.  A dedicated team, who embraces the vision of AEPC, has accompanied me. Indeed, all my Executive Committee members deserve a huge applause and I thank each one of them for their dedicated service to the council and industry overall. However, I cannot pen off without mentioning a few names here, people without whom the milestones would never have been conceptualized, let alone achieved! In the process, I request your understanding if I may have missed a few names.
My sincere and heartfelt gratitude to Shri HKL Magu for being my eyes and ears in Delhi. I wait to share what I know, what I've learnt, and what small wisdom may help him, as my successor, bear the great responsibility that comes with this office

An enormous thank you to Shri Virendra Uppal for being a terrific role model and guiding me at every crossroad.
Luckily, for all of us, Shri Harish Ahuja will continue to be our strong pillar of support and I am especially grateful that I was able to rely on his wise counsel during some very difficult times in my term.
Under the watchful eyes of Shri Premal Udani, the Advisory subcommittee has done a wonderful job. I cannot thank Premal enough for being my sounding board in all matters pertaining to the council.
Export Promotion and West Bengal state partnership was well nurtured by Shri Anil Buchasia. Thank you Anil!
Shri Narendar Goenka has done a wonderful job of shepherding the council’s finances and budget… many thanks to him.
Shri Gautam Nair, my Think Tank, has made some pioneering achievements in leading the initiative of States partnership. My gratitude to him for being my mouthpiece in very significant meetings and on many important platforms.
I would also like to thank Shri Hari Kapoor, someone I have always looked up to and Shri G S Madaan, for their contribution during my tenure and beyond.
Shri Lalit Thukral has led the charge and guided the Exhibition Advisory committee’s activities with great leadership and enthusiasm.
Shri Vijay Mathur, erstwhile ASG, AEPC needs a special mention for his unflinching dedication and profound contribution to the organisation
None of what I did would have been possible without the able workforce of AEPC, who are the actual hands and feet on ground. Three Cheers to Team AEPC!
The last month of the year brings with it the message of Christmas- the triumph of life, goodness, and love over death, evil, and hate. Wish your family and you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Ashok G Rajani