The dispersed and decentralized handloom and handicrafts sectors embody the traditional wisdom, cultural wealth and secular ethos of our polity. They are not just a source of livelihood for lakhs of weavers and artisans, but also environmentfriendly, energy and capital saving and labour-intensive forms of art that have secured India’s presence in millions of homes across the globe; a presence that has been crafted by dexterous hands, many of whom are among the most marginalized sections of our society in both rural and urban areas. The two sectors also reflect the binding force that unites various diverse segments of the population, encouraging co-existence of communities from different faiths, cultures, classes and castes, thereby strengthening the secular, cultural, social and moral fabric of the country.
Owing to their importance in India’s development and livelihood policy, the Government of India has introduced various policies along with programmatic interventions for the handloom and handicrafts sectors, aimed at generating sustained, productive and gainful employment with decent working conditions for the entire weaver, artisanal and ancillary worker population. While a majority of the programmes have yielded positive results, several factors – demographic, social, technical and cultural – have led to a situation of only partial fulfillment of the policy objectives. Consequently, the extent, nature and structure of employment creation and sustenance in these sectors remains a major concern for policy makers. In addition, inadequate infrastructure, poor marketing support and ailing distribution networks has weakened an already fragile supply chain system. Read More