Textiles Minister K S Rao chaired the first meeting of the reconstituted All India Handloom Board and discussed measures taken to boost the industry.

“In the Revival, Reform and Restructuring Package, so far financial assistance to the tune of Rs 1,019 crore has been approved and the Government has released Rs 741 crore. The package has supported around 31 apex, 8,805 primary cooperatives, 50,500 individual weavers and 5,462 self-help groups,” a Textile Ministry statement said.

Notable schemes which were initiated in the recent past are revival, reform and restructuring package for the handloom sector aiming to waive the outstanding loans of individual weavers and cooperative societies, to provide concessional credit to the weavers and to give 10 per cent yarn subsidy, it said.

Addressing the members of the board yesterday, the Minister said the government has been taking steps to promote and encourage the handloom sector. This has been done through a number of programmes and schemes so as to help handloom weavers combat the challenges of globalisation and modernisation.

The initiatives cover all aspects of production and raw material supply, design and technical assistance, training and skill up-gradation, marketing and welfare so that weavers gets self-sustainable employment.

The government also announced 10 per cent price subsidy on woollen yarn in addition to the cotton and domestic silk yarn already available. Yarn worth Rs 500 crore has been supplied during current year till January 24, 2014.

During the XII Plan (2012—17), the government will provide health insurance to handloom weavers on the pattern of Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) of Ministry of Labour and Employment. This would enhance insurance coverage of Rs 37,500 from Rs 15,000 per weaver family of five members covering both, OPD (out-patient department) and IPD (in-patient department) facility.

The government is also providing designers in the clusters design & colour trends commensurate with the market requirement for domestic and international markets.

This is being done so that innovative handloom products with new designs are developed.

The meeting was attended by more than 50 members and they gave various suggestions, including more assistance to handloom sector to attract the youth.

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