The government is committed to helping handloom weavers in meeting the competitive challenges arising out of globalisation and modernisation.
While laying the foundation stone of Handloom Marketing Complex in New Delhi, union minister for textiles Shankersinh Vaghela today said, "Our initiatives cover all aspects of production and raw material supply, design and technical assistance, training and skill up-gradation, marketing and welfare of weavers.
Vaghela said that the government had introduced five handloom schemes for the overall development of the sector and the welfare of weavers in the Eleventh 5-year Plan.
Welcoming the setting up of the complex, Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit said that the marketing complex was a gift to Delhi's shoppers because it was completely devoted to the weavers to showcase their handloom products.
Addressing at the function, the minister of state for textiles E V K S Elangovan said that the government has been striving to provide maximum social security to the weavers and their family.
Elangovan said, "Our endeavour is to empower the weaver, in terms of finance, technology, information, marketing support and so on, so that he gets self-sustainable employment." He said that conducting the 'third census for handlooms and issuing photo identity cards to eligible handloom weavers across the country was one of the major initiatives taken by the government.
The work on third All India Handloom Census is likely to be completed by December 2009 and photo identity cards will be issued to all the eligible handloom weavers enumerated during the census operations.
The new marketing complex, exclusively for the handloom fabrics representing various parts of India, is being set up on 1.779 acres of land at Janpath, and the project will cost about Rs42 crore.
The complex will have double two-bay basement parking space and will start functioning tentatively by October 2010.
The complex will house products from some of the best handloom producing organisations such as Handloom House Co-optex, APCO, CCIC and other reputed organisations.
It will also have space for a Dilli Haat type atmosphere wherein weavers from throughout the country will be invited for a 14-day period to exhibit their fabrics and sell their products.
Besides this, there will be a restaurant, Conference Hall and other facilities.
The handloom sector is the second largest employment generating sector in our country, next only to agriculture, employing about 65 lakh people, out of which about 60 per cent are women.
Therefore, the contribution of handwoven textiles to employment, textile production and export earnings is significant not only from an economic angle but also from a social angle.