Taking PM Modi’s call to make India self-reliant or Atmanirbhar Bharat, 150 firms in Morbi have joined hands to create local alternatives to products currently being outsourced from China. As the call to boycott China and its product gains momentum, Morbi, known as a hub of ceramic tiles in Gujarat, is aspiring to replace the Chinese toy market.
Around 150 electronics item and clock manufacturers from Morbi are in talks with firms which source parts or finished products from China for the Indian market. The manufacturers believe that with more than 25000 skilled manpower and the required infrastructure, they are well equipped to make many such products in Morbi.
The MD of the world’s largest wall-clock maker- Ajanta-Oreva Group, Jaysukh Patel, said that due to the decrease in demands since the Covid-19 outbreak, Morbi has been operating at barely 20 per cent capacity. “So, we started looking at our strengths and decided to replace China as a supplier for small electronic equipment for consumer appliances, toys and gift articles,” explains Patel.
The MD of Ajanta clocks furthered that the manufactures will not only be engaging with toy and gift articles makers but also consumer durable firms such as Hitachi, Samsung and LG for new business.
Speaking on cost-efficiency, Patel said that they are confident of not only delivering products at a better cost than China but also manufacturing superior quality products.
Letter sent to PM Modi asking for support
Patel added that Morbi has already approached the centre for help. “A letter has been sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking government support and protection for this segment of products”, Jaysukh Patel said.
Raising concerns on under-invoicing/tax evasion by Chinese companies to dump goods into the Indian market and ruin the country’s MSME sector, the letter to the PM dated July 5 read: “Indian MSME is competent enough to compete with Chinese products provided we curb the unethical imports of Chinese products. It will be a great assistance and boon to the MSME sector, if we can curb such unethical imports.”
Morbi, the ceramic tiles hub of India
For the uninitiated, Morbi or Morvi is a town and a municipality in Morbi district in the Indian state of Gujarat. Morbi is a huge industrial hub, especially famous for the production of ceramic tiles. Apart from housing 80% of India’s ceramic vitrified tile manufacturing units, Morbi is also famous for the Ajanta plant, one of the leading manufacturers of electronics items and clocks. Morbi initially used to be a manufacturing hub of clay roof tiles (commonly known as Naliya tiles in Gujarat). But as days progressed, the manufacturers turned to ceramic vitrified tile and now it has become the hub for such ceramic tiles in India.
China is the biggest exporter of ceramic products, especially vitrified floor tiles in Europe, the US, far-eastern countries and Africa. According to tiles makers in Morbi, Gujarat, as supply from neighbouring country has stopped, China-dominated markets are now looking at Indian tile manufacturers.