Reservation policy has lost its meaning and relevance: SIMA
The Southern India Mills’ Association (SIMA) has appealed to the Union Government to scrap the ‘antiquated’ Hank Yarn Obligation and Handloom Reservation Act and announce a new handloom policy that would showcase the Indian handloom industry’s rich cultural heritage and transform handloom weavers as “respected and highly paid artisans.”
In a statement, S. Dinakaran, chairman, SIMA, said that the Handloom (Reservation of Articles and Production) Act, 1985, covered 11 textile items under the handloom reservation order, many of which were umbrella items. He argued that the reservation policy had lost its meaning and relevance in a liberalised and globalised scenario and most of the (reserved) items were manufactured only on powerlooms in a “cost-effective manner.”
He pointed out that the Sathyam Committee had recommended the scrapping of the Handloom Reservation Act and the order issued on it as it had “far outlived its utility” and was an “artificial support” for the handloom sector that required reconstruction in the fast changing economic and global trade scenario. The SIMA chairman said that the Sathyam Committee had observed that the “unrealistic” Handloom Reservation Act had been curtailing the growth of the weaving and decentralised powerloom sector, making clothing expensive for rural India and limiting the standard of living of handloom weavers.
Mr. Dinakaran said that support to the handloom sector should not be in the form of crutches but as a stimulant to make it vibrant and self-reliant. Value-added items reflecting the rich heritage of the country, which could not be replicated by other modes of fabric production, would be produced by the handloom sector even in the absence of the Act, he added.