Panel to look into timely credit to handloom sector

NEW DELHI JAN. 3. The Minister of Textiles, Kashiram Rana, today said a Core Group had been set up to enable adequate and timely flow of credit to the handloom sector.

Addressing a meeting of the All India Handloom Board, Mr. Rana said the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) would have to augment the availability of credit to the sector to the desired level. The Development Commissioner for Handlooms had already started discussions with the Reserve Bank of India, NABARD, leading commercial and cooperative banks to ensure that the credit needs of the sector were met.

The Minister said the Tenth Plan outlay for various schemes in the handloom sector had been enhanced to Rs. 625 crores from Rs. 514.46 crores in the Ninth Plan.

The welfare schemes like Work-shed-cum-Housing scheme, Thrift Fund Scheme, Health Package scheme and Insurance scheme, enable the weavers to have better dwelling units, working environment, sound infrastructure and basic amenities to safeguard the health of the weavers and to provide them and their families with risk cover against natural calamities.

Indicating that a special contributory insurance scheme for covering one million weavers would be launched soon, Mr. Rana said a massive programme of skill upgradation with an outlay of Rs. 125 crores was also on the anvil and would be taken up soon as announced by the Prime Minister in his Independence Day speech.

Deen Dayal Hathkargha Protsahan Yojana, he said, was aimed at extending financial assistance in the handloom sector from pre-loom, on-loom to post-loom activities.

A sum of Rs. 310 crores out of the Tenth Plan outlay of Rs. 625 crores had been earmarked exclusively for this scheme. However, many States, he lamented, had not come forward to extend the benefits of the scheme to the weavers despite repeated reminders.

He also said a one-time special rebate scheme for sale of handloom fabrics with a provision of Rs. 100 crores was also under finalisation for liquidation of handloom stocks.

About handloom cloth production, he said it had crossed 7500 million square metre mark.

In the last financial year, the country earned Rs. 2,065 crores from handloom exports.

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