The outgoing Chairman expressed his gratitude to the Council for Leather Exports (CLE) members in a heartfelt message, reflecting on the impactful 2 ½ years he spent at the helm of the organization. Addressing challenges within the industry head-on, he shared the remarkable achievements made possible through collaborative efforts with the government and the unwavering support of the CLE community.

One of the standout accomplishments under his leadership was the successful advocacy for the Notification of the IFLDP Scheme (2021-26) in March 2022. With an impressive outlay of Rs.1600 crore, the scheme aimed at fostering growth within the industry. CLE played a pivotal role in popularizing this initiative among its members, resulting in a substantial total industry investment of Rs.1086.88 crore under the IFLDP scheme.

Furthermore, the Notification of revised Standard Input Output Norms (SION) for leathers and footwear marked a significant milestone. These norms, addressed after a gap of more than 25 years, were a testament to CLE’s proactive approach to industry needs. Ongoing efforts with the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) to notify SION for leather goods and garments further underscored CLE’s commitment to streamlining regulations for the betterment of the industry.

The Chairman’s tenure also saw the Notification of a duty-free scheme for footwear and other leather products under IGCR, providing a boost to the sector’s global competitiveness. The Enhancement of Drawback rates for leather, leather products, and footwear effective from October 30, 2023, was another notable achievement, demonstrating the Chairman’s commitment to securing favorable conditions for the industry.

Additionally, the Chairman successfully navigated regulatory complexities, securing exemptions such as the waiver of veterinary certification for the import of various leathers and an exemption of footwear quality standards for exporters based on CLE certification. These exemptions streamlined processes and alleviated burdens on industry players.

In a forward-looking move, the Chairman highlighted CLE’s submission of a vision document to the Government. The document outlined measures necessary to catapult the industry’s turnover from the present USD 17.26 billion to an ambitious USD 47.1 billion. This vision, encompassing both domestic and export turnovers, underscores CLE’s commitment to not only sustaining but elevating the industry’s standing on the global stage.

With a sense of duty and in accordance with the revised Articles of Association, the outgoing Chairman gracefully handed over the baton to Shri Rajendra Kumar Jalan during the 178th Committee of Administration meeting. Shri Jalan, a seasoned technocrat with almost 47 years of experience in the leather industry, is poised to build upon the foundation laid by his predecessor. Having previously served as Chairman of CLE from January 2013 to January 2015 and as Vice-Chairman, Shri Jalan brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to guide the industry to newer heights.

As the CLE bids adieu to its outgoing Chairman, the legacy of achievements and collaborative spirit remains ingrained in the fabric of the organization. The industry now looks ahead with optimism, poised for the next chapter under the leadership of Shri Rajendra Kumar Jalan.