Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Why Indian Govt not able to impact more even having number of handloom weavers scheme?

The handloom industry in India has been intimately related to the culture and history of this country. It has gradually evolved over hundreds and thousands of years, shaping up many trends and practices of India’s day to day life. However, in the recent times, the handloom industry in this country has been facing serious challenges from a number of sectors which is making it extremely difficult for the people involved in this business to reap the rewards that they are supposed to get. New technology, competition from a global market, new trends of marketing and other factors have made things difficult for the traditional handloom weavers of India who have been practicing their ancient art very much in the same way that their ancestors used to do once.

Apart from the usual challenges to the traditional practices of handloom weaving, one of the critical issues that have surfaced in the recent times is the eagerness from a number of institutions to enhance the prospects of handloom weavers by using technology driven looms which can apparently increase their overall productivity and earnings. The real situation is that it is an attempt on the part of the power loom operators to take over the traditional handloom industry and convert the handloom production methods into new power loom-based production techniques. However, the downside to this is that it is going to extend the benefits that are currently now available to handloom weavers according to the Government of India schemes to the power loom operators. Hence it will lead to the weakening of one sector and the strengthening of the other. While it is a common knowledge that only a handful of handloom schemes are now being able to meet the needs of the weavers, the situation is going to turn even graver if this so-called conversion in power looms take place.

Indian traditional sarees by handloom weavers
The new scheme that aims to combine handloom production techniques with power loom production techniques is flawed from the very onset. The proposed method of work would include some of the processes being done by hand and the rest of them motorized. Nevertheless, the end products would still be categorized as handloom fabrics and would be eligible to receive the conventional incentives attributed to the handloom industry. However, if this actually takes place then the richness for which Indian handlooms are known will simply fall apart as it would never be possible to create handlooms that are even half as good with power loom techniques. The most serious aspect to thing whole thing is that this new way of working was never really discussed during the 12th Five Year Plan held by the Government of India to improve handicrafts and handlooms. It only came to light as some of the handlooms welfare officials came to visit the handloom weavers and were quite alarmed to find that the weavers themselves have started to protest seriously to improve the situation for their own business interests.

Many places in India where power looms were supposed to be implemented do not have adequate electricity to run the machines. In such cases, the production will never be able to reach the optimum targets by which the workers can claim remunerations. In fact, the incentive schemes for handloom weavers that is to be extended to the power loom operators is an illusion. This call for motorized production was actually a move to win over power loom lobbyists so that certain influential politicians can have their support during elections. However, the disparity between certain political heads in relation to the war between traditional handloom techniques versus power loom techniques is making it even more difficult for the Government of India to put an end to this struggle.

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