National Handloom Day 2023

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On August 7, 2023, the country as a whole will commemorate the 9th National Handloom Day, coordinated by the Ministry of Textiles.

The main goal of National Handloom Day is to raise awareness of how handicrafts contribute to the socioeconomic growth of the nation and to boost weavers’ income.

28 Weavers’ Service Centres across various States and 16 campuses of the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) are celebrating National Handloom Day.

Source: Textile Ministry

History

National Handloom Day is observed in India on August 7th each year. It was established by the Indian government to celebrate and promote the rich cultural heritage and craftsmanship of handloom weavers in the country. The day was inaugurated on August 7, 2015, by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, to commemorate the Swadeshi Movement, which was launched on the same day in 1905.

The Swadeshi Movement was a significant movement during India’s struggle for independence from British colonial rule. It encouraged the use of locally produced goods and products, including handloom textiles, to reduce dependence on British-made products and to promote India’s indigenous industries.

On National Handloom Day, various events and programs are organized across the country to raise awareness about the importance of handloom weaving, the skill of weavers, and the cultural significance of handwoven fabrics. This celebration aims to support and revitalize the handloom industry, promote the use of handloom products, and provide sustainable livelihoods for the weaver communities in India.

Indian Government Schemes to Support Small Industries and Handloom Workers

As of September 2021, the Indian government has introduced several schemes to support small industries and handloom workers. These schemes aim to provide financial assistance, promote entrepreneurship, enhance skill development, and offer various other benefits to help uplift the livelihoods of artisans and workers involved in handloom and small-scale industries. Here are some notable schemes:

  1. Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY): Launched in 2015, PMMY provides loans to micro and small enterprises, including handloom workers and weavers, to meet their credit requirements. It offers three categories of loans – Shishu (up to ₹50,000), Kishore (₹50,000 to ₹5 lakhs), and Tarun (₹5 lakhs to ₹10 lakhs) – based on the stage of business and funding requirements.
  2. Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM): This scheme aims to alleviate rural poverty by promoting self-employment and organizing rural poor into Self Help Groups (SHGs). It provides financial assistance, capacity building, and market linkages to SHGs, including those engaged in handloom and small industries.
  3. PMEGP (Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme): Launched in 2008, PMEGP is a credit-linked subsidy scheme aimed at generating sustainable employment opportunities in rural and urban areas. It provides financial support for setting up new micro-enterprises and small industries, including handloom-related businesses.
  4. Aajeevika Grameen Express Yojana (AGEY): Launched under DAY-NRLM, AGEY seeks to provide safe, affordable, and reliable transport services to rural communities. It encourages the rural youth to operate public transport services, including vehicles that carry products of handloom workers to the market.
  5. Handloom Weavers Comprehensive Welfare Scheme (HWCWS): This scheme is designed specifically for handloom weavers and provides benefits like financial assistance, health insurance, life insurance, and skill development training.
  6. Handloom Export Promotion Scheme (HLEPS): Aimed at promoting handloom products in international markets, HLEPS offers various incentives and financial support to handloom weavers and exporters.
  7. Solar Charkha Mission: Launched to promote sustainable and green livelihoods for artisans, the Solar Charkha Mission supports the establishment of solar-powered charkhas (spinning wheels) that enhance productivity and reduce energy costs.
  8. Skill India Mission: While not specific to handloom workers, the Skill India Mission focuses on enhancing the skills of the workforce across various sectors, including handloom and textiles. It provides training and certification to improve employability and income-generation opportunities.

Handloom Industry Facts in India

Here are some key facts about the handloom industry in India:

Rich Heritage: India has a rich and diverse tradition of handloom weaving that dates back thousands of years. Each region in the country has its unique style of weaving, producing a wide range of exquisite handloom fabrics.

Employment: The handloom industry is one of the largest employers in the country, providing livelihoods to millions of weavers, artisans, and allied workers, particularly in rural areas.

Contribution to GDP: The handloom sector contributes significantly to India’s economy, both in terms of GDP and foreign exchange earnings through exports.

Geographical Distribution: Handloom weaving is practiced in various states across India, with some of the major handloom-producing states being Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Gujarat, and Assam.

Handloom Clusters: Many handloom weaving activities are organized in clusters, where multiple weavers work together in the same area, creating a local ecosystem of production, marketing, and skill-sharing.

Traditional Techniques: Handloom weavers often employ traditional weaving techniques, some of which have been passed down through generations. Each region has its distinct weaving methods, patterns, and designs.

Diversity of Fabrics: Handloom products include a wide variety of fabrics, such as cotton, silk, wool, jute, and blends of these materials. These fabrics are used to create sarees, shawls, scarves, stoles, dress materials, and other textile products.

GI Tags: Several handloom products in India have received Geographical Indication (GI) tags, which help protect and promote their uniqueness and traditional origins. Examples include Banarasi silk, Pashmina shawls, and Kanchipuram silk sarees.

Challenges: Despite its cultural and economic significance, the handloom industry faces various challenges, such as competition from power looms and mechanized production, lack of modern marketing avenues, and fluctuating demand.

Government Initiatives: The Indian government has introduced various schemes and initiatives to support the handloom sector, including financial assistance, skill development programs, and market promotion activities.

Sustainable and Eco-friendly: Handloom products are often considered more sustainable and eco-friendly than machine-made textiles since they typically involve fewer energy-intensive processes and use natural fibers.

Prominent Handloom Events: India hosts several handloom-related events and exhibitions throughout the year, where weavers and artisans showcase their products and connect with buyers and customers.

The handloom industry is a vital part of India’s cultural heritage and plays a crucial role in preserving traditional craftsmanship and promoting sustainable livelihoods. It continues to be an essential contributor to the country’s textile and economic landscape.

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