‘Hand Made in India’ to make entrepreneurs out of artisans

To boost the handicrafts and handloom industry in the country, the Government of India through the Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII) has sought to train 5,000 weavers and artisans in five states

July 18, 2019

The Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII) has pushed for capacity building for 5,000 weavers and artisans in five states

The plan will focus on upgrading the skills of the weavers to make them entrepreneurs in order to improve their income and quality of life

Handloom sector is the second largest employer for rural India after agriculture and employs over 4.3 million weavers and allied workers

Each of India’s 29 states and seven union territories have their own distinct and diverse textile, handloom, design and weaving traditions

To boost the handicrafts and handloom industry in the country, the Government of India through the Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII) has pushed for capacity building for 5,000 weavers and artisans in five states. In the first phase, spanning over the next three years, the ‘Hand Made in India’ (HMI) project will be implemented across handloom clusters in Gujarat (Surendranagar), Odisha (Bargarh), Assam (Kamrup), Madhya Pradesh (Maheshwar) and Tamil Nadu (Salem), according to media reports citing media statement.  

The project will focus on upgrading the skills of the weavers, introducing new-age marketing strategies, ensuring increased credit availability and roping-in the younger generation in the weaving traditions. Overall, these measures are targeted to improve the income and quality of life of the weavers with special attention to women. By enhancing their skillset, the HMI project aims to see them turn into independent, self-reliant entrepreneurs – a key component of national economic development. 

According to Raman Gujral, head, southern region, EDII, while survival has been a struggle for traditional weavers and artisans owing to competition from power looms which take lesser time for production, the charm of a hand-woven fabric has never faded. The HMI project has been conceptualized to calibrate these artisans to newer markets and shape customer preferences for more sustainable products. As it happens, the global demand for handmade, organic handloom products has steadily risen.

Handloom sector is the second largest employer for rural India after agriculture and employs over 4.3 million weavers and allied workers. Each of India’s 29 states and seven union territories have their own multiple handloom weaving traditions. Driven by promotional measures, the export of handloom products from India rose to US$355.9 million during 2017-18, with USA, UK, Spain, Italy, France being the biggest market. 

To empower handloom weavers, the Government has also set up the National Handloom Development Programme (NHDP), the Yarn Supply Scheme (YSS), the Handloom Weavers’ Comprehensive Welfare Scheme (HWCWS), and the Comprehensive Handloom Cluster Development Scheme (CHCDS). The Government e-Marketplace (GeM) has launched ‘Womaniya on GeM’ to enable women entrepreneurs and women self-help groups [WSHGs] to sell handicrafts and handloom products directly to various Government ministries, departments and institutions.

The government is also creating a supportive ecosystem for the handloom and handicrafts industry by enabling collaborations between international designers and fashion houses, NGOs and handloom promoting organizations. The overall objective is to inspire experimentation with colours, yarn and size of the fabrics to revive old traditions and weave new designs.