08 August 2015 07:41:11 IST

Handloom sector needs good marketing, design: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Union Minister of State for Textiles Santosh Kumar Gangwar

Assures support for weavers; calls for e-commerce push to boost sector

Indian handloom products have not been adequately marketed globally and “we need to change this trend”, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, inaugurating the first National Handloom Day here, on Friday.

It is a matter of concern that despite a long history, India’s handloom sector does not find a place in reference books, he said. The National Handloom Day is of historical significance as it marks the launch of the ‘Swadeshi’ Movement on August 7, 1905.

“Make handloom fashionable”

Modi said innovative design backed by good marketing is essential to promote handlooms in India and global markets. There is a need to make the handloom tradition fashionable by introducing new designs and colour schemes, he added.

Weavers should constantly evolve, innovate and ensure quality, said the Prime Minister. Fashion and design education also need to be re-oriented to make handlooms the centrepiece of fashion for India and the world, he noted.

The scope of e-commerce should be extended to handloom products. As the market for handlooms is being developed, support should be provided to weavers on the production side, said Modi.

Direct transfer of assistance

The National Development Corporation supplied 27 per cent more yarn in 2014-15 when compared to the previous year. Assistance to individual weavers for building work sheds and purchasing loom and accessory will now be directly transferred to their bank accounts, he said.

Small measures can improve India’s handlooms, said Modi. For example, the film industry can popularise fashion if they decide that at least one out of five films will only use handloom, handicraft and khadi, he said.

On October 2 last year, Modi had called upon the people to use one item of Khadi to brighten the lives of artisans. Since then, the sale of Khadi products has increased by 60 per cent as compared to the same period a year earlier.

“I now make such a call for handlooms. We have many options, including use of curtains, bed sheets, towels, covers and doormats. This will increase sale of handlooms and also help weavers,” he said.

Handloom forms nearly 15 per cent of total cloth and fashion. If this is increased to 20 per cent, it will give a huge boost to handloom sector and turnover will increase by 33 per cent, he said. “We need to popularise handlooms among the youth to boost the sector,” Modi opined.

Economic driver

Handloom weaving is one of the largest economic activities after agriculture, providing direct and indirect employment to over 43 lakh weavers and allied workers. This sector contributes nearly 15 per cent of cloth products. Nearly 95 per cent of the world’s hand-woven fabric comes from India, said an official press release.

The Prime Minister launched the ‘India Handloom’ mark and conferred the Sant Kabir Awards and National Awards for 2012, 2013 and 2014 to handloom personalities from across India.

Tamil Nadu Finance Minister O Panneerselvam read out a statement from Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.

Earlier, Jayalalithaa received Modi at the airport. After the Handloom Day function, Modi met her at her Poes Garden residence.