Developing the handloom sector

Government initiative

How is the government strategising for handloom clusters and weavers? Indian Handloom Brand (IHB)was launched by Prime Minister last year, ‘to endorse the quality of the products in terms of raw material, processing, weaving and other parameters besides social and environmental compliances for earning the trust of the customers’.

Metrolife spoke to Alok Kumar, development commissioner (Handlooms), regarding the recent initiatives taken and the strategies made to boost the handloom sector.

“The first strategy is to restore the consumer trust in handlooms and improve market position of handloom products. What has happened is, in order to compete with power loom, the handloom producers have compromised with yarn and colour,” Kumar tells Metrolife.

According to him, over the years customers have started distrusting handloom products, because in any ordinary shops selling handloom, it is difficult to say whether the cloth is power loom or handloom.

IHB has also recognised 80 stores in 25 cities in India, where trusted handloom products can be found. Two of them are in Delhi, the Central Cottage Industries Emporium being one and the Cooperative Society in Janpath, yet to be inaugurated.  

A handloom product needs more time, manpower than any machine-made product. Hence, even when there’s demand weavers find it difficult to deliver products.

“Weavers need the working capital more than others. Because, these products are not made in a day, it takes weeks or months. Since work goes on for longer, weavers need to get paid for those many days as well,” says Kumar.

A weaver credit card which gave maximum credit up to Rs 23, 000 is now merged with the Mudra scheme, which shall thrust financing clusters of weavers and ancillary workers. It will take care of the yarn, dyes and majorly for paying workers.

The Vijayalakshmi Ikat Fabrics, based out of Hyderabad used to produce all varieties of Ikat products and used to sell through Dilli Haat and other exhibitons. “We were finding it difficult to compete with other manufacturers though putting very small margins due to heavy competition. We were running about 150 looms. We have been briefed about India Handloom Brand so we applied for registration and got it,” says Varakala Vijaya Lakshmi.

She says that after getting the registration, they participated in Trade Fair Exhibition in Delhi and during the exhibition, they got order for 15,000 metres. Now, they also export.

IHB has given the registration to 170 handloom producing agencies or enterprises under the brand in 41-product categories, according to data provided by them. These agencies or enterprises are getting good response from their buyers and exporters. 

According to Kumar, IHB also organises festivals in order to increase the demand for handloom products among city people.

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