A thrift scheme is being formulated for handloom workers with 4 per cent share each by the Central and State governments, and loans of handloom workers are being waived, Minister for Handlooms and Textiles P. Sankar Rao said here.

The State government will spend Rs. 1,300 crore for the purpose, he told a meeting with officials at the Collectorate Sabha Bhavan on Monday night. The government was taking up welfare of handloom workers with Rs. 312 crore earmarked by the State and Rs. 400 crore by the Central government.

The Minister said he was touring the State to gauge the problems of handloom workers and would formulate welfare schemes for them after reviewing the progress of schemes.

Free power was being extended for powerlooms using up to five hp. Besides waiving handloom loans by June end, weavers' children would be given nutritious food, the Minister said.

The Minister confronted TDP handloom wing leader K. Venkataramaiah when he sought waiver of individual loans of handloom workers by questioning him as to why the TDP government did not do it. Mr. Sankar Rao claimed to have revived power subsidy for handloom units, which was suspended by the previous government.