Leather industry in India was once flourishing business, and it not only had a strong domestic market, but it also exported a good chunk to the market overseas. Leather goods made in India were in demand all over the world, and this industry was making a fortune. It is a fact that leather is mostly made out of the skin of the dead animals by processing them in the tannery. The final product was often shaped into bags, belts, purses, and shoes. Many companies too took pride in showcasing their leather products and sell them at a high price. Good leather materials are sold at a high price, which also earned a good amount of profit for the industry too.
But in recent years, the leather industry is witnessing a significant decline in its business due to various reasons. The contributors to the leather industry decline are both social and political. Worldwide there is a trend against killing or slaughtering the animals for the sake of leather. People from any animal loving communities have raised their voice and started campaigns to stop slaughtering of animals for the production of leather, which mainly includes cow and buffalos.
They are raising awareness on social media and on various platforms against cruelty to the animals. They are also filing petitions for shutting down the slaughterhouses that kill the cows and other animals for making leather. The awareness has been joined by several animal lovers who are shunning the use of leather goods and also urging others to stop the use of leather products. This is one aspect which is negatively working against the growth of the leather industry and hampering its growth as well.
The second aspect is a political one, and it is hitting the industry in the hardest way. In India, after the election of 2014, the NDA government came into power, and it enforced some stringent laws on cow slaughtering. Killing of cows was banned in several states of India, which made the functioning of this industry a tough job. The law was supported by several right-wing groups as they justified the ban since cows are considered sacred in India.
Therefore, many hard-line groups got themselves into positions of vigilantes to prevent cow slaughter and to protect them. The buck just did not stop there. Since most of the leather industries were run by the minority population of India, and they are mostly involved in slaughtering, production of leather and transportation of the cows, it rapidly took a communal color.
Many incidents occurred where drivers of the trucks transporting the cows were intercepted by the hardliner groups, and they were beaten or even lynched. This created a major tension and political upheavals too as people were killed for transportation of the cattle. The ban on the cow slaughter and the constant vigilance on the industry people made it impossible to produce leather as raw material was becoming totally inaccessible. As a result, the production of the leather industries in many states started falling sharply, and many units had to shut down due to immense political pressure.
The ban confusion also instigated attacks on those people who were merely transporting cattle for a dairy farm and milk production units. This move not only shut the industry but also gave rise to unemployment in both the communities who relied on leather products for their livelihood. It had a negative impact on both domestic sales and international exports. The government is trying to regularize the industry under a few norms. But with economic loss and the current socio-politico scenario, the revival of this industry will be extremely tough or might lead down to complete closure of this sector.