Rs 6, 000 cr announced for weavers

The package announced by Union Minister for Textiles Anand Sharma at Varanasi comes within days after Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi wrote a letter to the minister highlighting the problems faced by the community in Uttar Pradesh and implementation of the package announced by the finance minister earlier.

Although the minister categorically denied that the package had been announced with an eye on the next assembly polls in UP, where there were an estimated three lakh handloom weavers, concentrated mainly in the Varanasi-Bhadohi region, the BSP regime was quick enough to term it as an “election stunt”.

Sharma said the package worth Rs 6,234 crore would include waiver of loans to the tune of Rs 3,884 crore and schemes like weavers’ credit card, credit guarantee, subsidy on yarn besides other welfare schemes for them. “The weavers will get three per cent interest subsidy on loans, 10 per cent subsidy on yarn and also transportation subsidy,” the minister said, adding that the package would benefit around 15,000 co-operative societies in the country and over 13 lakh weavers. He also said that a provision of Rs 500 crore had been separately planned to take care of the loans taken by the weavers from private institutions. Credit guarantee would also be provided on fresh loans. Mega handloom cluster would be established in the carpet belt of Varanasi-Mirzapur and Sant Ravidas Nagar districts at the cost of Rs 100 crore, mega leather cluster at the cost of Rs 125 crore, besides technology development and other schemes.

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