Union Minister Smriti Irani
Union Minister Smriti Irani

Union Minister Smriti Irani on Friday said the government is aiming to develop ten Craft and Handloom Villages in the country so that tourists from across the globe can visit them and learn the rich legacy of Indian weavers and lend support to the Make in India initiative.

Irani shared the Textiles Ministry's vision while addressing a function through video conferencing to mark the National Handloom Day. Almost 95 per cent of the handwoven fabrics used globally are produced in India. The minister said the National Handloom Awards, which are presented on the occasion of the Handloom Day, are being deferred upon the request of weavers who wish to celebrate the honour instead of receiving it digitally due to the prevailing circumstances posed by COVID-19.

"It is our goal to develop ten Craft and Handloom Villages across the country so that our Handloom products are not limited to clothes or home furnishing alone. We want that tourists from India and across the world visit these special Craft and Handloom Villages to not only learn about the weavers but also contribute to our pledge of Make in India and Aatmanirbhar Bharat (Self Reliant nation)," said the minister for Textiles and Women and Child Development.

Irani shared that students from the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) are contributing to the upgradation of 9 out of 28 Weavers' Service Centres across the country in terms of design, marketing and research. These centres are located in Delhi, Srinagar, Jaipur, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Varanasi, Guwahati, Kanchipuram and Bhubaneswar.

She said it is the government's endeavour to ensure upgradation of all weavers' service centres through NIFT students to strengthen the rich legacy of handloom in India. Irani said the 'My Handloom' portal launched on the occasion will help in connecting state government undertakings, agencies and cooperative societies with the Centre's schemes for weavers to know about their status and benefits.

Highlighting the importance of the country's handloom, Textiles Secretary Ravi Capoor said 95 per cent of the handwoven fabrics used globally are produced in India. Observing that weavers do not get remunerative prices for their products, he said plans are afoot to ensure they get higher returns by eliminating middlemen and linking them directly to the market. After deducting the marketing fee from the amount received towards the sale of a product, the remaining amount can be transferred to the weaver's account through direct benefit transfer, Capoor suggested.

Irani also launched a mobile app and backend website for Handloom Mark Scheme. The minister said the Handloom Mark is being promoted to provide collective identity to the authentic handloom products. Textiles Committee Mumbai has developed the mobile app with a backend web portal to completely digitise the process of registration. The app is in English and 10 Indian languages and will enable the weavers of the country to apply for Handloom Mark registration from the comfort of their homes.

It helps ascertain the genuineness and originality of the product through unique and dynamic QR code labels affixed on each handloom product.

The 'My Handloom' portal launched on the occasion will enable weavers as well as other organizations to apply for various benefits under the various handloom schemes like Block Level Clusters, Handloom Marketing Assistance and Awards. Irani said that till now, 1,590 products have been registered under this brand, which has more than 180 product categories. Further, to promote handloom #Vocal4Handmade campaign has been started.

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Free Press Journal