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Weavers second to none

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The heritage of handlooms in India is priceless and almost every region in the country has its own distinctive history of weaving. From time immemorial, ethnic handlooms and design patterns of Telangana State have been promoting the cultural glory of the State. The design pattern of Pochampally Ikat, Gadwal cotton, Silk and Sico sarees, Narayanpet cotton and silk sarees, Warangal durries, Siricilla bed sheets and furnishing, are unique in displaying the outstanding skills of weavers of the State.

Subsequently, weavers from the Telangana region have been in huge demand in textile hubs like Surat and Bhiwandi for their craftsmanship. Though it was largely due to neglect in undivided Andhra Pradesh that forced weavers to migrate to other States, the textile sector is on the path to retain its past glory after formation of Telangana State. Handlooms and textile sector is not only the largest cottage industry but also one of the largest employers in the State in the unorganised sector, especially in rural areas.

There are 16,879 working handlooms and 49,112 powerlooms in the State. Due to neglect by the previous governments, the industry was afflicted by a number of problems such as inadequate raw material supply, stiff competition from the mill sector, inadequate marketing facilities and obsolete technology. Realising the problems, Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao decided to find solutions to all the problems and several rounds of discussions were held with industry experts, leaders, NGOs and also officials. Subsequently, the government felt the need to uplift the sector through adequate budgetary support and interventions.

 

Proactive measures by the State government have not only helped weavers return to their home towns but also enabled them to earn a respectable income. To resolve problems faced by the weavers and also improve their socio-economic development, the Telangana government is implementing several initiatives including a huge budgetory allocation of Rs 1,270 crore, introduction of a thrift fund scheme, wage compensation-linked input subsidy scheme, setting up of a mega Textile Park in Warangal besides another textile park at Siricilla and a Rs 15-crore loan waiver programme. “The main objective in making huge budgetory allocation is to uplift the industry from outdated technology, safeguard the sector, provide sustainable employment, development and welfare of weavers, marketing facilities and brand promotion for products besides providing alternate source of livelihood to those who are unable to eke out a living in this sector,” says Handlooms and Textiles Minister K T Rama Rao, who has been instrumental in promoting handloom wear.

The State government’s initiatives have received appreciation from various parts of the country and abroad. At the latest Textile India 2017 event in Gujarat this year, Union Minister for Textile Smriti Irani appreciated the Telangana government and Rama Rao for being alive to the problems in the textile sector and giving it all to help it grow. “With efficient leadership, the State would progress,” she had then remarked.

The Department of Handlooms and Textiles is making efforts to ensure that all the handloom workers are under the ambit of insurance. Insurance schemes like Pradhanmantri Jeevan Jyothi Bheema Scheme, Mahatma Gandhi Bunakar Bheema Scheme and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bheema scheme, launched by the Central government for the benefit of the weavers community – both from the organised and unorganised sectors are being implemented vigorously. Each scheme has its own specifications based on the age group.

Loan Waiver

Soon after the State formation, the government implemented loan waiver scheme to individual handloom weavers and weavers cooperative societies by releasing Rs 48.56 crore. In yet another initiative, the State government announced a loan waiver to benefit 2,467 handloom weavers at a total cost of Rs 10.1 crore.

Yarn Subsidy

To lend a helping hand in reducing capital expenditure for weavers, the government revised the ‘yarn subsidy’ scheme in November, increasing the subsidy component from 20 per cent to 40 per cent. Nearly 35,000 weavers would benefit from the increase in subsidy on purchase of cotton, wool, and silk yarns as well as dyes and other related chemicals. Additionally, beneficiaries can avail themselves of 10 per cent subsidy being provided by the Central government. The State government allocated Rs 100 crore for this scheme.

KMTP a one-stop shop

Touted as the one-stop shop for textile industry, Kakatiya Mega Textile Park (KMTP) is under making and is poised to commence operations from next year. Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao who laid the foundation stone for the mega textile park in Warangal in October this year, is confident that the new park will fill the void following the closure of Azam Jahi Mills in undivided Andhra Pradesh and expedite reverse migration of weavers which was triggered by the State government’s initiatives a couple of years ago. KMTP is the biggest such facility in the country and will be a one-stop shop for all kinds of textiles unlike Solapur, Surat and Tirupur which are famous for producing chaddars, suit salwars and hosiery respectively. Besides attracting investments worth Rs 11,500 crore, the 1,190 acre textile park being developed at a cost of Rs 1,150 crore will have world class capabilities to produce all varieties of fabric under one roof and provide direct or indirect employment to 1.13 lakh people.

Marketing Support

As part of its marketing support programme, the State government organised numerous expos in Telangana and other States of India besides roping in prominent companies to promote handlooms. Amazon India has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Handlooms and Textiles department with an aim to educate, train and enable weavers and artisans to directly sell their products to Amazon customers across the country. Actor Samantha Ruth Prabhu has been roped in as brand ambassador of Telangana weavers where she collaborated with the Handlooms and Textiles department to launch ‘Tweaves’ (Telangana Weaves) business venture to revive handlooms and promote them to larger audience.

Chief Minister made it categorically clear that overnight changes were not possible. People too realised that there is no magic wand either to undo the decades of injustice meted out to Telangana in the undivided State

 

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