Human hair industry seeks GoI intervention to check smuggling

NEW DELHI: Human hair exporters association on Thursday sought the government of India’s (GoI) to check alleged smuggling of raw human hair from India to boost domestic industry and exports.
Member of Human Hair and Hair Products Manufacturers and Exporters Association of India Sunil Eamani alleged that this labour intensive industry is facing a peculiar challenge of smuggling of raw human hair to countries like Myanmar and China, which is hurting local industries and exports.
“We want immediate check on this smuggling and illegal exports. We have also asked the commerce ministry to put raw human hair under prohibited category items for export purpose,” Eamani told reporters here.
The sector holds huge export and employment potential but the smuggling is hurting the industry, he noted.
Eamani alleged that 30 per cent import duty on human hair is the main reason for smuggling.
“Checking on smuggling and increasing availability of raw material in domestic market will significantly boost the exports. We have the capability and technology to make it a USD one billion dollar market. Lakhs of people are employed in this sector but our exports are going down,” Eamani said.
Explaining the modus-operandi, he said that raw hair is collected from household for processing and selling, but now it is also being collected by smugglers from Myanmar and transported through the borders.
He also noted that livelihood of lakhs of poor depend on the collection, processing and sale of human hair.
Export of human hair and value-added products have declined to USD 248.1 million and 0.42 million, respectively, in 2018 from USD 271.86 million and USD 2.32 million in 2017.
The major export destinations include China, the US, Europe and middle-east countries.
In India, West Bengal is the major hub for the industry besides Andhra Pradesh, Telenaga and Tamil Nadu.
The major competitors of India are China, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar.
Raw human hair is mainly collected from households and temples of these states and it primarily caters to the beauty market globally.
Two types of hair are collected in India – remy and non-remy hair. Remy hair, best grade, is collected from temples where pilgrims donate their hair as part of a religious vow. This quality is mainly used to make hairpieces and wigs.
Non-Remy hair is a household waste collected by small groups of people in villages and cities. They segregate that and sell to dealers.