Two ministries of the Narendra Modi government have joined hands to bring a new paradigm shift to the ailing handloom sector. Now, the traditional arts of weaving and spinning will be added with modern training and skills with a view to transform the lives of weavers and spinners. Both the Union ministers, Smriti Irani and Rajiv Pratap Rudy were in Varanasi on Sunday when the country was celebrating the national Handloom Day.
With the key objective of enhancing the earnings of handloom weavers, the Ministry of Textiles and the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship have chalked out a strategy for promoting production and marketing of highvalue and high-quality handloom products.
The two ministries announced their partnership in the PM’s constituency Varanasi – the place which has long been identified for its famous ‘banarasi sari’ – a product of handloom.
Key Focus Areas of the MoU:
- Linkage and collaboration of Weavers Service Centers with other training institutions in the states through a hub & spoke model
- Training programme in technical areas like weaving, dyeing, designing, printing etc.
- Assessment and Certification of trainees through technical expertise from WSCs
- Review and necessary augmentation of training capacity at institutional level and Recognition of Prior Learning
- Creating awareness about entrepreneurship and inculcating entrepreneurial competencies through soft skill training tools and information technology
A senior Skill Development Ministry official said, “The partnership assures that the two ministries will collaborate and cooperative jointly, to undertake various skill development and entrepreneurship development programmes for handloom weavers through knowledge sharing, resource optimization and synergy of institutions.”
Rudy agreed that spinning, dyeing, designing, weaving – all these are traditional skills which are there from decades – have never been realized formally. We must revive interest in these skills and make them viable, paying and valued, added the minister.
“Whether it is learning the art to weave, to use technology to increase weaving production or to connect loom craftsmen to the market – everything needs learning of a new skill or upgrading what the industry currently has, said the minister.
Officials said all this training will bring about entrepreneurial and managerial capability and skills of IT and financial planning which will change the way how young loom crafts-person organize their traditional skills into aspiring businesses.
A senior Skill Development Ministry official said most of the people in this sector are self-employed and they require a more holistic approach that is not limited to just training but helping build an ecosystem where training is one of the aspects among others, such as developing markets, products and means of financing these enterprises to improve productivity.
Leading fashion designers like Anita Dongre, Samant Chauhan, Sanjay Garg, Shruti Sancheti, Rina Dhaka, Tarun Tahiliani and Rajesh Pratap Singh also joined hands to promote the handloom industry in Varanasi on Sunday.
Presently, 28 weavers’ service centre (WSCs) across the country are providing technical assistance to weavers by carrying out design development and research and development in handloom machinery and equipment including processing.
WSCs are the nodal agency for carrying out skill upgradation training in the areas of weaving, designing, dyeing, printing, managerial functions and use of technology in handiworks.
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