KERALA

Package to revive handloom sector in the pipeline

Special Correspondent

Weavers cooperative societies will be strengthened: Jairam

KANNUR: Union Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh has said that a major Central government package for reviving the handloom sector in the country is in the pipeline, as many of the handloom centres are in great distress.

Inaugurating the Textile Design Studio here on Thursday, Mr. Ramesh the handloom sector, which was the third largest employer in the country, had a bright future. Stating that the Central government had made handloom a thrust area, he said the package would also look into ways of strengthening handloom weavers cooperative societies, most of which were struggling.

The studio, which is the first such facility to be set up in the country, has been set up here on a private-public partnership basis. The Union Commerce Ministry has sanctioned Rs.45 lakh of the total project cost of Rs.50 lakh.

The Minister said similar design studios would be set up in most important handloom and textile centres, including Erode, Hyderabad and Panipat. Announcing that the government wanted to focus on small entrepreneurs and producers, he said the country’s policy was to export only what we produced and not what people of other countries wanted to buy.

Listing various measures of the Central government for giving momentum to the handloom sector, he said a major shortcoming in the handloom exports sector was the lack of any data on exports since 2002-03 when the handloom exports from the country had recorded exports to the tune of $ 544 million.

The government had decided two months ago that all handloom products would have a separate classification code, he said adding that by April next, the government would have reliable statistics relating to handloom exports.

Apart from the handloom mark initiated by the Central government, cluster development was also expected to give a fillip to the handloom sector in the country, he said. He said the design studios such as the one opened here would create design infrastructure in the sector.

Referring to the crisis being faced by the weavers’ cooperative societies, the Minister said that all political parties had a role in the destruction of the cooperative sector in the country. The Registrar of Cooperatives was the only strong man in the existing structure of traditional cooperative societies, he said. The weavers had to look at new ways of bringing themselves together.

The model of self-help groups and producers’ companies registered under Companies Act could be adopted as an alternative mode that would allow members to control their own future, he said.

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