The sports goods industry of India has its roots in Sialkot, Pakistan. When India was partitioned in 1947, many of Sialkot's skilled Hindu craftsmen migrated across the border into Punjab, settling in Jalandhar, where the Indian sports goods industry is now based. The Indian sports goods industry has expanded to include the areas of Meerut, (Uttar Pradesh) and Gurgaon, (Haryana). Most of India's sports goods are exported to the United Kingdom, The United States of America, Germany, France and Australia. The industry is mainly concentrated in Jalandhar and Meerut.
The sports goods industry in India has witnessed a phenomenal growth over the past five decades and now occupies a place of prominence in the Indian economy in view of its massive potential for employment, growth and export. There has been an increasing emphasis on its planned development, aimed at optimal utilisation of resources for maximising the returns, particularly from exports.
The Indian sports goods industry manufactures 318 items. However, major items that are exported are inflatable balls, hockey sticks and balls, cricket bats and balls, boxing equipment, fishing equipment, indoor games like carrom and chess boards and different kinds of protective equipment. The Indian sports goods industry is a highly labour intensive industry which provides employment to the weaker sections of society and also employs a large number of women.
Sports goods industry of Jalandhar
Jalandhar acquired importance during the Mughal period. Twelve Muslim bastis (clusters of houses) came into existence including Basti Danishmanda, Basti Guzan and Basti Nau, which are now dominant centres of the sports goods industry. Basti Nau has one of the biggest sports goods markets as well.
Jalandhar ranks second in India in the rate of urbanisation and has the highest density of population at 598 persons per square km, as per the 1991 census. The reason for this is growing industrialisation. Industrial production of sports goods began on a small scale during the late forties. Over the years, the sports goods industry has grown at an impressive rate and of late Indian sports goods are also exported to different countries. Rough estimates suggest that today Jalandhar has more than one hundred major industries and about 20,000 small-scale industries with a most conservative estimate of an annual turnover of approximately Rs 450 crores.
In Jalandhar, about 60 per cent of the sports goods that are manufactured comprise of different kinds of inflatable balls. Besides inflatable balls, the other sports goods that are largely manufactured are badminton racquets and shuttle cocks, cricket bats and balls, different kinds of gloves and protective equipment.
In Jalandhar, three kinds of establishments are usually found:
- Big establishments: These are generally geared to exports besides catering to the domestic market.
- Small establishments: These usually manufacture sports goods for the domestic market. Both the big establishments as well as the small establishments are registered either under the Factories Act, 1948, or under the Shops and Establishment Act of the state of Punjab.
- The unregistered units: These are found particularly in the urban pockets of Jalandhar. These units are mostly small home-based units which are usually run by the family members, but at times with the help of a couple of hired employees. These units do not have a direct access to market. It has been seen that many a times when the big establishments - especially exporters - are not able to cope with large orders from their foreign clients, distribute a share of the production to these small unregistered, home- based units.