Bengaluru: In India, the agarbatti industry is one of the most important industries, providing jobs for millions of unskilled labourers. 

It is needless to say that these unskilled labourers depend on agarbatti-making for their livelihood. 

But in what came as a hit on their livelihoods, agarbatti imports from countries like China and Vietnam had increased. 

Therefore, the Narendra Modi-led Union government revised the import policy of agarbattis from ‘free to restricted’, bringing smiles on the faces of agarbatti makers. 

"The effect of this boon from the Narendra Modi government has already started reflecting. The price of Raw Agarbatti available to the local perfumers that had gone down from Rs 70/kg in 2009 to Rs 48/kg in 2018, has been up by at least Rs 5/kg, in less than a day of this notification. It will create not less than 20 lakh jobs in some months now," said Subhash Bhatia, who heads the Raw Agarbatti Manufacturers' Association (RAMA) to The Pioneer.  

Well, though it is a welcome move by the Narendra Modi government, insiders in the agarbatti industry told MyNation that there is a big lobby that is against the restriction. 

“This lobby of benami politicians, does not want the restrictions on the import to stay because their interests and profits will be hampered,” a source revealed.  

The insider also said, “Moreover, bamboo, which is a raw material for agarbatti-making was de-classified as a tree under the amendment to the Indian Forest Act to enable tribals and agarbatti-makers. But this development is unknown to many agarbatti-makers. The lobby wants to thrive on it.” 

Though it is a good move to impose the restrictions and declassify it, the source adds the lobby is not allowing it to trickle down to the common man in the agarbatti industry. 

“Due to the impositions by the Central government, the benami lobby is suffering. They want the restrictions to go. If that happens, many unskilled labourers will come to the streets. The unemployment in this sector will skyrocket. Moreover, if unemployment increases, these unskilled labourers have a high chance of turning into anti-social elements,” the source laments.  

Therefore it is imperative to defeat the lobby and ensure the livelihoods of the agarbatti-makers are not put at risk.