Time To Go For HMT: Watch Starts Ticking For PSU

Time To Go For HMT: Watch Starts Ticking For PSU

HMT was once associated with watches throughout India. With the advent of the age of Swatch, it is not surprising that the time for the state run manufacturing company is now up. HMT is all set to wind down after it was deemed as a loss making enterprise which can no longer be rescued.

The government has decided to close the watch company after it has incurred losses for more than 10 years now. During the past year, MHT reported a loss of INR 242 crore. The state-owned manufacturing company has over 1,105 employees and 181 executives currently.

With the watch company set to close, it is the end of an era for the watch manufacturing industry. HMT was earlier known as Hindustan Machine Tools Limited. This state owned company came under the control of the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.

It was formed in the year 1953 by GoI and it was aiming to be part of the future of modern India. But the time and tide turned against the watch company with the advent of private watch companies such as Titan and their more luxurious counterparts as well.

In an era of designer watches, gadgets and gizmos, the state run organisation could not fend off the overpowering competition. Over the years. HMT had tried to reinvent itself and expand further into fields such as tractors, printing machinery, die casting, plastic processing machinery, metal forming presses, CNC systems and bearings.

During the peak of its functioning in the 1960s, HMT was renowned all over the country for setting up India's first watch manufacturing unit in Bengaluru in collaboration with Citizen Watch Co. It was also the company to be the first to introduced everything from the first Braille watch to the first day-date automatic watch and quartz watches. Its famous slogan “timekeepers to the nation” was well known throughout the country.

The quartz watches that were introduced by HMT proved to be its Achilles Heel because many new players in the 1980s who beat the PSU at its own game. The state run PSU was then referred to the Board for Reconstruction of Public Sector Enterprises, which recommended revitalization.

But the NDA government decided to go ahead with the hard option of shutting down the company. Repeated efforts to revitalize the company before had failed. In the light of no supporting evidence that a turnaround was possible, the government chose the more difficult option.

HMT now faces an end and with it comes the uncertainty faced by its current employees. Hopefully, some form of compensation or support would be provided so that hard times do not come about for the employees. With so many officers and their families involved, the decision to close down such a company affects many lives at all times.
Post your comment