Handloom in festivities and Government Initiatives::By:Srijata Saha Sahoo
Handloom in festivities and Government Initiatives
By:Srijata Saha Sahoo
As the countdown for Durga Puja begins, the festive fever has gripped West Bengal as well as the entire nation, with the enthusiasts thronging the market, in large numbers. All over India, this festival is celebrated in various names every year with gaiety and honour. Kolkata too is gearing itself up to witness another extravaganza of unfathomable footfalls in innumerable pandals of the city draped in endless colourful apparels ranging from sarees - silk, tussar, motka, Baluchari, Fulia Jamdani, Bhagalpuri, Sambalpuri, Mangalgiri, Chanderi, Maheswari, Paithani, Patola, Pochampalli, Chamundi silk, Vanarasi silk, salwar-kurtis to varieties of men’s designer attires.
To give a boost to such a wide variety of textiles, especially in the marketing as well as export of handlooms, the Union Government headed by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has launched not only “India Handloom Brand” as an endorsement to quality of the handloom products in terms of raw material, processing, embellishments, weaving design and other parameters like social and environmental compliances for earning the trust of the consumers but has also framed a policy framework to promote e-marketing of handloom products, for promoting marketing of handlooms in general and to reach the younger customers in particular. In the words of Shri Modi, “Can we not enhance use of handlooms in our daily lives? We have many options such as clothes, curtains, bed sheets, table covers, door mats and rugs, to name a few. This will not only support handlooms but will also support our weavers. I am told that handlooms form 15% of total cloth consumption. If we raise this to just 20%, from 15% to 20%, it will give a huge boost to handlooms. Handloom turnover will increase by 33%. People, especially women wear handloom clothes on social occasions like marriages and major festivals. We need to popularize this among our youth. This will give the much-needed boost to the handloom sector.”
Adopting these guidelines of the Prime Minister, the Office of Development Commissioner (Handlooms) under the Ministry of Textiles has developed the policy framework for promoting the interests of both the producers and consumers of handloom products.
Handloom & E Commerce
Under the policy framework, the Office of DC (Handlooms) would collaborate with approved e-commerce entities in promoting e-marketing of handloom products, in a transparent, competitive and effective manner. The policy thus widens the existing ambit of institutional collaboration between Office of DC (Handlooms) and e-commerce players.
With this, to excite the younger generation about handlooms and the huge marketing marketing opportunities available to promote handlooms, the need for innovations in design and weaving processes and the need for customer education have been given priority by the Government. Hence the National Centre for Textile Design (NCTD), under the Ministry of Textiles is involved in making innovative, ethnic and contemporary designs available to the textile sector, so as to reach potential markets and help in boosting the sales of the handloom products both in and outside the country.
The government is even working on a new Textiles Policy. The handloom sector in the country provides employment to more than 40 lakh persons engaged in nearly 24 lakh handlooms across the country. It makes a significant contribution in export earnings too.
The Union Government has prioritized the necessity of encouraging employment in the handloom sector and help in boosting production of handloom products too. For this, the Integrated Skilled Development Scheme (ISDS) was introduced by Ministry of Textiles on a pilot basis in the last two years of the 11th Five Year Plan year 2010 -11. The scheme has subsequently been scaled up during the 12th plan with a target of skilling 15 lakhs persons by the end of March 2017. Textile Ministry data says, 11.3 lakh are covered under 76 projects by 58 implementing agencies spread across India. The scheme has experienced significant progress over the last five years and around 4.20 lakh candidates have been successfully trained across diverse sectors like Apparel and Garments, Textiles, Handlooms, Handicrafts, Sericulture, technical textiles, Jute etc. In terms of the broad skill policy framework of the Government and ‘Make in India’ initiatives, the scheme has been revamped in FY 2014-15, with a view to simplify procedures and to focus on partnering with industry for scaling up of implementation of training programme with assured employment.
The Union Government also appreciates holding of national expos of handloom materials and products in metro cities as well as in other big cities of the country, especially during festivals like Durgapuja or Navratri. Such initiatives too enhance the sale of such items as innumerable buyers throng such melas to buy exclusive handloom products. Even foreign tourists who arrive in the cities visit such exhibitions and buy handloom products.
It is thus envisaged that the Indian handloom sector will shine in the days to come with ‘Khadi and weavers’ products receiving the dignity of exclusiveness in both Indian and market abroad.
About the Author: Srijata Saha Sahoo is the Media & Communication Officer,PIB, Kolkata.
Disclaimer:The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author.