Make handlooms a better business opportunity: Irani

Make handlooms a better business opportunity: Irani
Smriti Zubin Irani
Correspondent Shillong, Jul 20 | Publish Date: 7/20/2020 10:01:25 AM IST

Union Minister for Textiles Smriti Zubin Irani on Monday underscored the need of systematic approach to make handlooms a better business opportunity particularly the north-eastern states.

“For far too long, I think the handloom legacy of our country has been romanticised with the element of poverty, and I think from the marketing perspective, we need to reposition ourselves and look at the larger consumption market,” Irani said addressing an e-symposium on Handloom Sector under an e-Symposia Series on Emergent North East India: Strategic and Developmental Imperatives, hosted by the Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Centre for Policy Research & Analysis under the aegis of IIM Shillong.

Stating that sustainability has become the buzzword not only for manufacturers, buying agents, and international chains that can leverage the handloom opportunity, the Textile minister also stressed on the need to encourage weavers to have a business plan and a pathway to success.

“Instead of looking at a minute segment, we need to look at a product range for a larger consumer base,” said Irani.

Exhorting the youth population of the region, Irani reiterated the need for youngsters to retain the craft through use of available design technology so as to reduce the challenges that the weaving community face.

“The government at the ministry level is encouraging a lot of people to come together as producer companies,” said the minister.

Enlightening the government initiatives towards credit facilities such as Mudra Yojana, wherein post access to the scheme, a weaver’s income increases by at least 50 to 60 per cent, Irani called for more and more research which can build credibility to such outreach programmes.

Expressing his thoughts on handloom sector, Director of IIM Shillong, Prof D P Goyal said, “Sincere thanks goes to the nameless weavers of North East India who have not only been the ambassadors of the culture and heritage of the region but also its true custodian, who for hundreds of years have carried the knowledge of handloom by practicing and passing it on to the next generation.”

In the technical session on ‘Handloom Sector: Energizing the potential catalyst for growth and development’, Prof Keya Sengupta, Centre Coordinator, said, “We hope the policies that shall be drafted for the handloom sector will help us to achieve the policy goal of Act East envisioned by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and make the sector commercially viable.”

Member of the Board of Governors, Atul Kulkarni while moderating the session opined, “the handloom sector is one which is caught between subjective perception and objective reality. It is an activity which is in deep crises with low productivity, low wages, low literacy level, with firmly entrenched middlemen system and very little formal finance arrangements.”



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