To virtually connect the Handloom Weavers and exporters from different parts of the country with the international market, the Handloom Export Promotion Council has made intensive efforts towards realising a self-reliant India. To achieve the same, the Indian Textile Sourcing Fair was organised on the 6th National Handloom Day, which had over 200 participants from across the nation showcasing their products with unique designs and skills.
Handloom weaving/production is imminently a requisite part of the Make-in-India programme. The government has announced a special package viz the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan for boosting the economy of India. Relief and credit support measures have been announced for various sectors including MSMEs, which will be a boon to the weavers and artisans/karigars in reviving their businesses.
Ministry of Textiles Initiatives:
Apart from the above special economic package, the Ministry of Textiles has also been taking following initiatives for the benefits of handloom weavers and artisans across the country:
- Government e-Market place (GeM) provided to enable artisans to sell their products directly to various organisations.
- To promote e-marketing of handloom products, a policy framework was designed, under which any e-commerce platform can participate in online marketing of handloom products. Accordingly, 23 e-commerce entities have been engaged for on-line marketing of handloom products.
- In order to renew interest of Indian public in handlooms, a social media campaign #Vocal 4 handmade was launched on the 6th National Handloom Day by the Government, in partnership with all stakeholders, to promote the handloom legacy of India and to ensure people’s support for the weaving community.
- In the face of the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic, the Government endeavours to provide online marketing opportunities to our weavers and handloom producers.
- Design Resource Centres are being set up in Weavers Service Centres (WSCs) through NIFT with the objective to build and create design-oriented excellence in the Handloom Sector and to facilitate weavers, manufacturers, and designers for creating new designs.
- To enable the handloom agencies and weavers to withstand their profession, the Ministry of Textiles is implementing following schemes through the Office of the Development Commissioner for Handlooms across the country, under which, financial assistance is provided for raw materials, purchase of looms and accessories, design innovation, product diversification, infrastructure development, skill upgradation, lighting units, marketing of handloom products and loan at concessional rates.
Handloom industry is the largest cottage industry in the country. The importance of this sector lies in its size and employment potential. It provides direct and indirect employment to more than 4.3 million weavers and is the largest economic activity second only to agriculture
- National Handloom Development Programme (NHDP): Various components of this scheme are given below-
- Block Level Cluster: Financial assistance upto Rs. 2.00 crore per Block Level Cluster for various interventions such as skill upgradation, product development, setting up of common facility centre (CFC) etc. is provided.
- Handloom Marketing Assistance: In order to provide marketing platform to the handloom agencies/weavers to sell their products directly to the consumers, financial assistance is provided to the States/eligible handloom agencies for organising marketing events in domestic and overseas markets.
- Weaver MUDRA Scheme: Under the Weaver MUDRA Scheme, credit at concessional interest rate of 6% is provided to the handloom weavers. Margin money assistance to a maximum of Rs. 10,000 per weaver and credit guarantee for a period of 3 years is also provided.
- HATHKARGHA SAMVARDHAN SAHAYATA (HSS): Under the scheme, 90% of the cost of loom/accessory is borne by the Government of India while remaining 10% is borne by the beneficiary. The Government of India’s share is released to the supplier through Weavers’ Service Centre.
- EDUCATION OF HANDLOOM WEAVERS AND THEIR CHILDREN: Ministry of Textiles has signed Memorandums of Understanding with Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) to secure educational facilities for the weavers and their families.
- “India Handloom” Brand- The brand “India Handloom” promotes production of niche handloom products with high quality, authentic traditional designs with zero defect and zero effect on the environment.
- URBAN HAATS are set up in the big towns/metropolitan cities to provide adequate direct marketing facilities to the craft persons/weavers and eliminate intermediaries.
- Comprehensive Handloom Cluster Development Scheme: The Comprehensive Handloom Cluster Development Scheme (CHCDS) is targeted at development of Mega Handloom Clusters in clearly identifiable geographical locations covering at least 15,000 handlooms with the Government of India (GoI) contribution up to Rs.40 crore per cluster over a period of 5 years.
- Handloom Weavers’ Comprehensive Welfare Scheme: Weavers Comprehensive Welfare Scheme (HWCWS) is providing life, accidental and disability insurance coverage under the components Pradhan Mantri Jivan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY), Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) and Converged Mahatma Gandhi Bunkar Bima Yojana (MGBBY).
- Yarn Supply Scheme: Yarn Supply Scheme is being implemented throughout the country to make available all types of yarn at Mill Gate Price.
A timeless facet in the rich cultural heritage of India, the handloom sector occupies a place next only to agriculture in providing livelihood to the people. The crisis caused by COVID-19 has resulted in a sudden disruption of businesses across the globe. Stakeholders across the spectrum have felt the effect of the resultant downturn. The handloom sector has, too, been severely affected as with all sectors in the economy with their traditional and contemporary markets for artisans being totally closed. One of the main challenges that COVID-19 has caused is the abrupt interruption to artisanal livelihoods. It is up to the government, and their stakeholders including the general public to ensure the revival of the handloom sector and continue the legacy of the weavers, an intricate part of our cultural ethos.