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Varanasi weavers get trade centre to promote handlooms
Feb '17
The Trade Facilitation Centre and Crafts Museum (TFC&CM) is being set up at Varanasi to develop and promote handloom products and carry forward the rich tradition of handlooms of Varanasi. The first phase of the centre consisting of crafts museum, entrance plaza and shopping arcade was inaugurated in December, said Union textiles minister Smriti Irani.

The Rs 300-crore project was announced in the Budget 2014-15 by the government as a welfare scheme for weavers from Varanasi. Ten block level clusters have been sanctioned in different blocks/urban areas of Varanasi at a total project cost of Rs 7.89 crore with Central share of Rs 7.7 crore and first instalment of Rs 5.12 crore released, covering 4,129 weavers, said Irani in a written reply to a Rajya Sabha question.

About nine common facility centres (CFCs) along with common service centres (CSCs) have been set up in different areas to provide facilities like training, yarn, dyeing, warping, IT-enabled services etc. CSC provides services like banking, Aadhaar card, e-commerce, e-ticketing, mobile charging and more. So far, more than 21,000 persons have benefitted from them.

The government has taken several steps to help weavers in opening bank accounts and taking benefits of digital payment modes. The CFCs have taken banking services to the door step of handloom weavers.  Several camps have been held in Varanasi to train the handloom weavers in accessing digital payment modes. Close to 307 such camps were organised in Varanasi in which 12,502 persons participated, said Irani.

She added that micro-ATM/banking correspondent (BC) facility was extended in association with various banks for easy withdrawal of money. National Handloom Development Corporation has also implemented e-Dhaga mobile app, which has facility of making online payment for purchase of yarn. E-commerce players have been facilitated to work with handloom weavers of Varanasi with the arrangements that the sale proceeds are transferred into their bank accounts.

Replying to another question in Rajya Sabha, Irani said, “Under the Mahatma Gandhi Bunkar Bima Yojana (MGBBY), 4.33 lakh handloom weavers from North Eastern States availed benefits in the last five years. During the period of 2012-13 to 2016-17, 25.93 lakh weavers have been covered till now. Besides this, the implementing agency, i.e. Life Insurance Corporation of India, will submit final enrolment figures for 2016-17 after March 31, 2017.” (KD)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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