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Government plans to develop a furniture cluster

Furniture making is one area where the government is aiming to kill many birds with single stone. Under the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Mission’, the government is working to develop a furniture cluster near a port where common facilities for testing, research, design and packaging can be provided. Such a cluster would help furniture manufacturing on a large scale to meet domestic requirements and push India into the global furniture trade market.

The government is also planning to tighten the restrictions for the import of furniture into the country as part of its Aatmnirbharata (self-reliance) policy. This move will not only save foreign currency but also will boost the domestic industry and generate employment as furniture and wood panel industry are labour intensive. According to available data, India’s annual imports of wood and allied products amounted to Rs 15,000-20,000 crore while furniture or wood panel are not technology intensive products. Moreover, several countries are considering reducing dependence on China, which could benefit India’s wood panel industry, especially in MDF exports.

Further, global trade in furniture is about Rs 20 trillion and India is not a key player in this segment despite having cheap labour in abundance. Further, the government is working on the possibility of importing wood in India without any duty, which would help solve the issue of availability and boost the domestic furniture manufacturing industry.

The size of the organised furniture market in India is about Rs 25,000 crore, while the overall furniture market size in India about Rs 2 trillion. Furniture imports from China into India are currently estimated at US$2 billion. With anti-Chinese sentiment prevailing in the country now, the wood panel industry and the furniture makers in India expect a big opportunity for Indian modular furniture makers in replacing these Chinese imports over medium to long term. According to them, there is likelihood of an increasing acceptance of ready-made furniture or modular furniture in India which would also drive higher demand.

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