The government has embarked on linking its skill development initiative with its programme to develop handloom industry, reported PTI.
An MoU in this regard was signed between the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) and the Ministry of Textiles here on National Handloom Day to “bring a paradigm shift in the handloom industry”.
“Spinning, dyeing, ‘beem bharai’, designing, weaving – all these are traditional skills which are there from decades but have never been realised formally. We must revive interest in these skills and make them viable, paying and valued.
“This will bring about entrepreneurial and managerial capability and skills of IT and financial planning which will change the way how young loom craftsperson organise their traditional skills into aspiring businesses,” Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, said.
An official release said MSDE and the Ministry of Textiles have chalked out a new strategy for promoting production and marketing of high value quality handloom products with the key objective of enhancing the earnings of handloom weavers.
“Our conversation about skills have always been focused on learning the art of working with our hands. Who would know and value this more than our own weavers and loom craftsmen who have retained the culture and tradition of our country with their works,” Rudy said.
The MoU was signed in the presence of Union Minister for Textiles Smriti Irani, who is steering the vision of scaling the handloom and textile sector to new heights, the release said.
At present, 28 Weavers Service Centres (WSCs) across the country are providing technical assistance to handloom weavers, it said.
WSCs are the nodal agency for carrying out skill up-gradation training in the areas of weaving, designing, dyeing/printing, managerial functions and use of technology in handiworks.
Additionally, the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, through the National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF), has institutionalised the entire framework and the Central government awards nationally recognised certificates to these skills, it said.
The release said a special focus has been on reviving the handloom clusters in the North Eastern states.
The handloom sector under the textile industry is the largest economic activity after agriculture. Around 43 lakh people are engaged in hand weaving and allied activities, it said.
The workforce distribution in this sector is highly concentrated with 60.5 per cent (16.83 lakhs) of handlooms/weaver households located in northeast India.
As per the third handlooms Census of 2009-10, more than 43 lakh people are engaged in weaving and allied activities. The figure for the same was 65.5 lakhs as per the second handloom census conducted during 1995-96, it said.
Out of the 38.47 lakh adult weavers and allied workers in the country, 77 per cent are women and 23 per cent male weavers. 10 per cent of the weavers are from scheduled castes (SCs), 18 per cent from scheduled tribes (STs), 45 per cent from other backward classes (OBCs) and 27 per cent from other castes, the release added.