The 3rd National Handloom Day was observed across India on 7 August 2017, in order to promote indigenous creations and honour the handloom weavers of the country.
The day mainly aims to highlight the contribution of handloom to the socioeconomic development of the country and promote handlooms to increase the income of weavers and also to bring their undying skill and hard work out in the limelight.
The Union Textiles Minister, Smriti Irani addressed a gathering at Ahmedabad to mark the occasion. Various programmes were held in universities, schools and other institutions as well.
The main function to celebrate the day this year was held at Guwahati and it was presided over by Union Minister of State, Textiles, Ajay Tamta. Speaking on the occasion, the Minister said that the Government of India was taking various initiatives for the welfare of handloom weavers. He continued saying that he personally not only appreciates but also salutes the handloom weavers for their commitment, dedication and skill.
He said that the handloom weavers should be able to earn due value for their produce and that the Government was working in this direction.
Some initiatives taken by Government for welfare of weavers:
Hathkargha Samvardhan Sahayata Scheme: Under the scheme, the union government assists the weaver by bearing 90% of the cost of new looms.
MUDRA scheme: Under the scheme, the weavers can avail loans ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 10 lakh with no requirement for any security.
Besides this, the Ministry of Textiles has signed MoUs with Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) by which children of weavers shall be able to avail school and university education, with 75% of fees being borne by the Government of India.
The Textile Minister further assured Assam’s Chief Minister, Sarbananda Sonowal that the Centre will do all that is required to support the state in advancing the welfare of the state’s weavers.
The Chief Minister, also the main chief guest of the event, while addressing the gathering thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for choosing Guwahati as the venue for the main event of 3rd National Handloom Day.
Further, Sonowal while drawing attention to the fact that more than 50 percent of the total weaver population of India resided in the North Eastern Region, among whom most are women, said that the prime objective of holding the day’s main event in Guwahati was to empower woman and young girls.
Sonowal also spoke about the huge potential of Handloom sector in North East and said that a means had to be worked out through which the income of the weavers could be increased, ensuring they get a deserving share of the immense worth of their produce.
Following two MoUs were signed on the occasion:
1. The Ministry of Textiles signed a MoU with the Common Service Centres, under which the weavers would be able to avail a wide range of government services under one roof, from Weavers’ Service Centres (WSCs).
Weavers’ Service Centres
- The centres would serve as a one-stop centre for weavers, providing various services including banking, passport, insurance, PAN card, voter ID and AADHAAR.
- The weavers will also be able to pay their electricity bills and undertake online courses at the WSCs.
- There are about 28 WSCs under the Office of Development Commissioner (Handlooms), Ministry of Textiles, functioning in various parts of the country.
- The weavers will be able to derive the benefit of these services from the WSCs, starting from 2017 itself.
2. The Ministry of Textiles signed a MoU with the designers, under which well-known textile designers will work closely with the handloom weavers, passing on design assistance and knowledge. The move is expected to improve the market potential of the handloom products and improve the earnings of weavers.
Lastly, the Chief Minister distributed some educational material to the handloom weavers. Study material developed in collaboration with National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) was also distributed to the children of handloom weavers.
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