Union Minister of State for Textiles Panabaka Lakshmi said export of handloom products is likely to register 30 to 35 per cent growth during the current financial year in spite of global economic slowdown.

Handloom exports touched US $ 156 million last fiscal and weavers should further capitalise on foreign buyers’ attraction to traditional designs and vibrant colours, she said. The Minister participated in a panel discussion on ‘Boosting Market Linkages in the Handloom Sector’, organised by the Assocham Ladies’ League here on Thursday.

She was responding to the suggestion for revival of the handloom industry through creation of market linkages, sustainable platforms for showcasing of products, spreading awareness on government policies and certification of the authenticity of the handloom products.

She said of the total 27.83 lakh handloom house holds in the country, close to 87 per cent were living in rural areas accounting to 19 per cent of total cloth produced. Over 65 lakh weavers and workers were dependent on the sector acclaimed as the second largest employment provider after agriculture.

Ms. Lakshmi said the Central Government would provide financial support to States that were prepared to set up common facility centres at handloom clusters. (eom)