Indian Textile Industry is the principalemployer among all the industries of the country, yet it has a very small sharein the global market. But handloom sector, the primary branch of textiles, isconsidered as the major for its established capacity. This is because India is the only country which produces handloom on a marketable scale. Economic meltdown hasimpacted on Indian Textile Industries as a result of which many export ordersare getting cancelled and labourers depending on this Industry are almost onthe brink of loosing their source of revenue. Over 90 percent units in thetextile and clothing are in the SME sector, which is also the most labourintensive sector in our industry as a whole. The entire textile value chain iscurrently enduring a severe crisis. With such a situation continuing a bitlonger, lakhs of workers who earn their livelihood through this industry willbe pushed into the category of Below Poverty Line (BPL) and its high time thatthe impact of recession on labour and livelihoods in Handloom sector should betaken care of and necessary strategies and policies should be implemented to preventfurther damage.

Current Scenario

It appears that the global meltdown being witnessedprominently in the financial markets is all set to ruin the Handloom industry,which is currently facing a tough time. On one hand the prepared saris are notgetting sold off in abundance like before, on the other hand the export ordersappears to face a downward trend in near future. The Silk industry, which wasfacing a tough time due to other factors, is likely to face a major nudge inthe coming days resulting into literal starvation of many people. Be ithandlooms or power looms both methods of preparing handloom garments arethreatened by crisis following the present situation in which the peoplerelated to this industry are failing to get work even for a month or two. They hardlyget to work for just 15 days, which affects the daily wages of a lot of people.Exporters are also facing a tough time due to the declining demand for the handloomproducts. The classic Banarasi sarees of India are purchased by the rich strata people of India and across the globe and later by the victimsof crisis. Till few years back the silk Banarasi sarees were extremely adored handloomproducts in the world. The Banarasi fabric is an indispensable material,traditionally used for marriage and party purposes. The suppliers are unable tomeet the demand due to rise in inflation rate. It is also feared that if nothingis done on time for endurance of the artisans, these already deprived peoplemay not at all get time for survival. Since the business is not doing well theartisans have to work for 15 days and the remaining 15 days they have to remainidle. Initially, the labour was Rs. 500, but today it is only Rs. 400 due tothe adverse impact of inflation. Business of Handloom products had already beenfacing crisis for different reasons for a few years and the recent globalretard to business organizations proved bluster to this industry. Since theprices of raw material are rising and material is not being sold, we can seevery well that market is not responding in the manner it should. Hence, peopleare turning to other businesses.

Functional Statistics

It has been indicated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF)that there is a 2.2%decline in the growth of global market for 2009. Because of the escalation ofrecession main countries are in the sphere of downbeat. Export orders aredipping, and buyers are deferring the deliveries. Further, they are alsorequesting an extended credit period to tackle the credit chomp. India's exports are declining especially for the countries like US and EU, whereas theirfoils are fairly mounting up their markets internationally. The packagesannounced by the Indian Government were not adequate to traverse the effect. Stepswere taken by the Government like swindling with the Repo Rate, Reverse RepoRate, and Cash Reserve Ratio with the hope that it would provide liquidity to theeconomy. Unfortunately, as the recession had already inlayed, all efforts wentin vain. 7, 00,000 jobbers were laid off, and 1, 00,000 jobbers are expected tolose their job, every month for the forthcoming 3 years. Industry forecastersenvisage that textile and Handloom Industry has the capacity of 5 million directand 12 million indirect jobs. With the effect of this, the export potentialwill soar upto $50 billion comprising 6% of the global trade. The domesticmarket would also grow from $30 billion to $60 billion. All this is onlypossible with enough support of the Government. It must come up with requiredmeasures to instill the very required vivacity to our textile and garmentindustry before it crumples down past the recovery. The handloom and power-loomproduction has declined by 3.8% and 3.2% respectively as a consequence ofglobal slowdown. Production sustained at 6,677 million square metres, ascompared to 6,947 million square metres the year before, in the handloomssector. Though, the production in mills increased a marginal 0.8% from 1,781 million squaremetres to 1,796 million square metres. The hosiery sector also witnessed 2.3% increasein its yearly production. Some of the schemes undertaken by the Governmentto deal with the Industrial crisis are: integrated handloom development scheme,marketing and export promotion scheme, handloom weavers comprehensive welfarescheme and technology up-gradation fund scheme and many more.

Survival strategies

  • The interest funding that has been extended for the next fiscal year was to expire this year, in March 31. The enclosure of this clause in the Union budget 2010-2011 has come as a huge liberation to the export sector, taking into account that they had been under massive stress to stay buoyant in the rising waters of the recession. In fact, the decision to extend the interest subsidy had been made in order to shield those industries which are the major employers in this sector. This extension clause was incorporated in the Union budget 2010-2011 to help handloom, leather, handicrafts and carpets sectors to endure and cope up with the losses incurred in the huge global economic downturn, which therefore escorted a major retard in demand. The handlooms and other mentioned sectors have been hit primarily in the recession, and are struggling hard to deal with the gigantic losses.

  • The world's installed capacity of handloom is currently 4.60 million. Out of this 85 per cent are installed in India. Indias handloom sector with 3.89 million looms employs 6.55 million people, accounts for 13 per cent of the total cloth production and nearly 16 per cent of the countrys total cotton textile exports of Rs 1,772 million, as per the recent updates. The handloom industry produces an astounding variety of clothes and handloom products, different specialty products possessed by each state because of different cultural ethnicity as well as craftsmanship. Sarees like Banarasi and Kanjeevaram, Kashmiri Shawls and Moradabadi Carpets are legendary arts in themselves. With such an enriching heritage and exclusivity of Indian handlooms in hands, all we need to have is a well-planned promotional effort that can accelerate more demand and growth in this sector.

  • To help the handloom sector exist the sturdy time Handloom Export Promotion Council has come out with the idea of bringing out Handloom Atlas of India and pass it through various external affairs ministry missions. The atlas is in four primary international languages viz., English, German, French and Japanese accompanied with a descriptive CD. The atlas will help people to spring to the right product from the right manufacturer from diverse handloom clusters in India. The atlas covers topics like yarn, spinning mills, weavers service centres and textile research associations. One can also get details of handloom clusters, exporters of Indian handloom items across the country. It also provides information about each states products and specialization.


The handloom sector majorly faces the problems such as unavailability of appropriate and adequate credit, technology degradation, and lack of marketing support. The government has proclaimed to provide loans at the rate of seven per cent. It is also considering a loan waiver of 26 thousand million rupees. These steps are expected to generate some fruitful results of the efforts made the Government. Textiles as a whole have matured at a compounded rate of around 10 per cent in last five years, but are currently under soaring strain of dumping from China and numb administrative policies. We still hope that the sector will survive the tides and come back in the race of different sectors of the economy with the same pounce and verve.