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Report of Handloom Sector

Feb '07
The Government has no up to date figures on employment and production of the handloom sector. Despite the large numbers of people employed as handloom weavers, the last census on handlooms was carried out a decade ago in 1995-96.

The lack of updated figures has adversely affected policies and programmes designed to strengthen the sector, as policy-makers have had to rely on guesswork and anecdotes rather than hard data on the sector.

In India, two handloom censuses have been carried out, both by National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER). The first census of handloom weavers was carried out in 1987-88 and the second census was conducted as a Joint Census on both Handloom and Powerloom in the year 1995-96.

According to the 1987-88 Census, there were 43.7 lakh handloom weavers in the country out of which 22.4 lakh were full-time weavers and the rest (21.3 lakh) were part-time weavers. In the 1995-96 Census, the numbers had declined to 34.7 lakh handloom weavers, out of which 16.5 lakh were full-time weavers and the rest (18.2) were part-time weavers. This represents an overall decline of 9 lakh weavers.

Releasing a report “Examining Employment Figures on the Handloom Sector”, commissioned by the All India Artisans and Craftworkers Welfare Association (AIACA) and conducted by the National Council of Economic Research (NCAER), Dr. Syeda Hameed, Member-Planning Commission, Government of India called for “ a more systematic approach to collecting information on the handloom sector“.

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