AMARAVATI: Handloom weavers demanded that the Centre should amend the Act to strictly enforce the rules and prevent the powerloom owners from manufacturing the clothes reserved for the handloom sector.
Several handloom weavers associations and NGOs met union secretary of textiles, UP Singh in New Delhi and appraised him of the situation.
A delegation comprising Macherla Mohan Rao of National Federation of Handlooms and Handicrafts, Gunjan Jain of Vriksh, Delhi, Ankush Seth of MATEE, Delhi held discussions with the senior officials in the textile ministry and brought the key issues being faced by the weaver particularly in the backdrop of Covid-19 to their notice.
The NGOs have also urged the Centre to help entrepreneurs set up small scale spinning mills to produce ready-to-weave yarn.
"Urgent intervention of the Centre is required to empower the handloom weavers and strengthen the sector," said Mohan Rao.
They explained that the powerloom industry is resorting to illegal practices in producing handloom reserved items and selling them as 'handloom' in the domestic markets at a premium price. They said that such violation of the Handloom Reservation Act is severely affecting Reservation Act is severely affecting the livelihood of millions of weavers. They said that the Handloom Reservation Act needs to be amended, particularly in respect of Section 2 of (e).
"There is an urgent need to remove ambiguity in definition to make clear distinction between hand printing and hand embroidery vis-a-vis digital printing and machine embroidery" said Mohan Rao.
He demanded that the government should take immediate steps to invent devices to distinguish the powerloom and handloom fabric in collaboration with technological institutes like IITs.
Gunjan Jain said that presence of fake products in the market is highly detrimental to the handloom industry. She said that it would be better for the powerloom products to have its own tag similar to the handloom mark. She had also requested the union secretary to recommend the exemption of GST on yarns, dyes/chemicals and handloom products to protect the handloom industry.
Mohan Rao said that Centre should also initiate measures to involve students from NIFT, NID and other design institutes to undergo internship with handloom weavers to bring new designs in tune with the changing fashion trends of domestic and export market.
Regular supply of 'Ready to Weave' yarn (colored, dyed/sizing yarn) needs to be made available to the weavers on the basis of ID cards. This could be done through NHDC Depot's and Coop Societies, he said. He said that implementation of NREGA for weavers would also serve the purpose.
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