In National Fibre Policy, natural fibre sector should be given special incentive attention, especially cotton, silk, jute, wool and other nonconventional fibres including banana. There has to be a long-term vision and a structured approach to the fibre sector. Finding an equitable balance between growth of different fibres, and an assessment of how such a growth would impact on the user industry are important steps that need to be followed.

Vulnerability on the rise

Handloom sector has a turnover of Rs.60,000 crore per year. Handloom products have a market demand of Rs. 100,000 crore per year. Handloom exports have reached Rs.4000 crores per year. More than 3 crore people are dependent on this sector. It is eco-friendly production, which has all the technological capacities within the country. No royalty needs to be paid to Western countries in this period of concern over carbon emissions and climate change.

Handloom weavers are facing severe livelihood crisis because of adverse government policies, globalization and changing socio-economic conditions. Suicides are on the rise. Ineffective implementation of the schemes, increasing unfair competition from the powerloom and mill sectors is responsible for the crisis. Handloom sector invests more than Rs.25,000 crores on accessing cotton yarn, and Rs.9,500 crores on dyes and chemicals every year.

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This article was originally published in the Textile Review magazine, May, 2013 issue, published by Saket Projects Limited, Ahmedabad.

About the Author:

Dr. D. Narasimha Reddy is an Independent Textile Analyst based in Hyderabad.