By Dr Sanjay Kumar Panda
IAS(Retd), Former Secretary
Ministry of Textiles, Govt of India
Handloom fabrics of India covering a wide of unique fabrics typical in design to each region and spread from Muslins of Bengal to Patola of Gujarat; from Kani shawls of Kashmir to Silk of Kancheepuram; from Brocades of Varanasi to Tie & dye fabrics of Odisha represent a link between our present with the glorious past. It is a national treasure and pride. Notwithstanding its unique features, numbers of active loom and full time weavers have been on the decline- inadequate earnings form handloom being the prime reason.
In this background, the visionary Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi took keen interest and crafted a new strategy for revival of Indian handloom after assuming power in 2014. Focus of his intervention was to recognise the outstanding skill of the weavers as a major partner in national development and empower him to produce with “Zero defects” (in product) and “Zero effect” (on environment).
He advocated observing the 7th August, associated with the Swaraj movement as the National Handloom Day in honour of the weavers. The first celebration was held on the 7th August 2015 at Chennai with the gracious presence of Hon’ble Prime Minister.
Hon’ble Prime Minister had personally outlined and supervised implementation of a number of path breaking initiatives, which include
- Launching of the India Handloom Brand for ensuring quality to the customer and facilitating on line marketing on the 7th August 2015.
- Setting up Common Facility Centre at village level for enabling the weavers to get all required material and technical help at their door step.
- Promoting youth from the weavers family for setting up Start ups for high value handloom production with quality as per market demand
- Linking of Handloom with Fashion by involving students and faculty of the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT).
- Starting construction of the Trade Facilitation Centre & Craft Museum at Varanasi for boosting up export
It is beyond doubt that these path breaking seeds (initiatives) with required support will blossom with flowers and fruits, which will attract the younger generation to handloom weaving. These measures based on the vision “Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas” will bring cheers to the weavers and make the development sustainable.