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SIMA demands Centre to scrap Handloom Reservation Act
Aug '12
The Handloom (Reservation of Articles for Production) Act, 1985 covers eleven textile items of fabrics under the handloom reservation order.  A closure perusal of the list reveals that most of the items are umbrella items, more in the nature of product categories rather than specific products.  In the liberalized and globalised scenario, the reservation policy has lost its meaning and relevance and most of the items are produced only on powerlooms in a cost effective manner.  Sathyam Committee (1999), which formed the base for Textile Policy 2000, had strongly recommended that Handloom Reservation Act and the Order issued there under should be done away with as the same had far outlived its utility.  
In a press release issued, Mr S Dinakaran, Chairman, The Southern India Mills’ Association (SIMA), Coimbatore has appealed to the Central Government to scrap the Handloom Reservation Act which is not in practice for decades.  He has stated that the Handloom Reservation Order is an artificial support extended to the handloom sector that needs to be reconsidered and changed in view of the fast changing economic and global trade scenario.  He has remarked that the unrealistic Handloom Reservation Act has been curtailing the liberal growth of the weaving and decentralized power looms sector for decades apart making the clothing expensive for the rural India and limiting the standard of living of the handloom weavers.  He has pointed out that a new handloom policy is essential to achieve a sustained growth of the handloom sector.
Mr Dinakaran has pointed out that the support to the handloom sector should not be in the form of crutches for the sector but as a stimulant to make the sector vibrant, self-reliant and sprinting and the support systems must provide for preservation of the exclusiveness and the magic of hand-woven intricate designs of handloom fabrics as remarked by Sathyam Committee.  He has added that the Sathyam Committee has also observed that the weavers producing unique, exclusive, high value added items with strong linkage to heritage with intricate designs and improvised technology which cannot be replicated on other modes of fabric production and have excellent export potential would automatically be produced by the handlooms even in the absence of the Act.  
SIMA Chairman has stated that most of the traditional handloom clusters in the country have today been converted into powerlooms cluster even with shuttleless looms which are able to produce the items covered under the Handloom Reservation Act in a cost effective manner and with better quality.  He has pointed out that no amount of subsidy and incentives would make the weavers to produce any fabric which is not remunerative and fetch adequate wages to the handloom weavers.  He has added that MGNREGA has eliminated the fear of job losses and make the master weavers or societies to produce any low value added items using handlooms.
SIMA Chairman has appealed to the centre to scrap the antiquated Hank Yarn Obligation and Handloom Reservation Act and announce a new handloom policy which would showcase the Indian handlooms as testimony to the rich cultural heritage and convert the handloom weavers into a respected and highly paid artisan.

The Southern India Mills' Association (SIMA)

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