In order to generate employment through the handloom sector, the Ministry of Textile, Government of India has initiated various schemes. The ministry is focusing on development of clusters at the block level which generate employment in the rural areas.
The ministry has adopted a Block-level cluster approach for development of handlooms. This provides for integrated and holistic development of cluster by implementing need-based interventions. National Handloom Development Programme has been amended accordingly, to make it more flexible to suit the requirements of the cluster, with higher scale of finding by the Government, discontinuation of the State contribution, direct release of funds to implementing agencies and direct transfer of funds in the bank account of beneficiary. A Common Facility Centre too is being set up in each block, having concentration of traditional handloom weavers and other areas where handloom weaving is feasible on a commercial scale.
Total spending per cluster has been more than tripled from Rs. 60 lakhs to Rs. 2 crores per block cluster. A cluster in the block is eligible to avail the financial assistance upto Rs 2 crore for various interventions such as setting up of Common Facility Centre (CFC), including Common Service Centre (CSC), engagement of textile designer-cum-marketing executive, construction of workshed, appointment of Cluster Development Executive (CDE), technological up-gradation, skill up-gradation etc.
The scheme permits setting up of Dye House with an Effluent Treatment Plant in the district, with an additional funding of Rs 50 lakh.
The Weavers’ Service Centre will develop designs for the cluster with the support of National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) and private designers and evaluate the success of designs given by private designers. Computer Aided Textile Design (CATD) centre will be provided for a group of clusters instead of each cluster.
Financial assistance for work-shed for individual weavers has been increased from Rs 35,000 to Rs 70,000. Weavers belonging to Above Poverty Line (APL) category can also avail of the assistance provided they contribute 25 percent of the funding requirement. Such assistance can be credited directly to the bank account of the weaver, who may procure required material as per his own choice.
Category of Implementing Agencies has been widened to include Primary Weavers’ Cooperative Societies and Self Help Groups (SHGs) registered as legal entity and other appropriate legal entities working for handlooms.
The Comprehensive Handloom Cluster Development Scheme (CHCDS) is under implementation during the 12th Plan for development of Mega Handloom Clusters. As per the scheme, mega handloom cluster should have atleast 15,000 handlooms and funding upto Rs 40 crore as Central share is eligible per cluster.
The ministry has taken a number of steps for the revival of handloom sector, giving stress on increasing the earning of handloom weavers, which would in turn attract the younger generation to this profession. These steps have been taken in light of the new strategy for revival of handlooms. the major pillars of the new strategy are the following;
Organising the weavers in clusters and providing basic infrastructure by setting up Common Facility Centres with godown, office with internet facility, rest room, facilities for training and bulk processing in each block having concentration of traditional handloom weavers.
Encouraging handloom weavers to user information technology based intervention extensively for direct benefit transfer under Jan Dhan Yojana, getting market information as well as for selling products through e-commerce.
Launching ‘India Handloom’ brand for promoting high value handloom products with new design, zero defect in fabrics, zero effect on environment and assurance to consumer to about genuineness and quality of the product.
Promoting educated youth from weavers’ families as weaver entrepreneurs, who will get market information, produce and market cloth directly; with a view to increasing the earnings from handloom weaving substantially
Linking handloom with fashion and tourism, with a view to expanding the market and increasing earnings.
Providing assistance to handloom weavers in training, design development, acquisition of looms and accessories online, supply of quality raw material in decentralised manner.