Shillong: On National Handloom Day, Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma honoured the handloom weavers who make commendable efforts to preserve the vibrant indigenous handloom and handicrafts sector of the nation. Sangma also encouraged to go vocal for handmade to strengthen the country’s efforts towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat.
He also lauded Union minister Smriti Irani for launching ‘My Handloom’ portal and also informed that the government is working with different sericulture and weaving clusters to enhance the livelihood of the people in the state.
‘My Handloom’ portal is a one-stop platform for information on everything related to handloom. This portal will allow weavers and other stakeholders to track applications in real time, thereby enhancing transparency and increasing efficiency.
Along with the ministry of textiles, the government of Meghalaya launched a social media campaign to champion the cause of people engaged in sericulture and weaving.
Sangma informed that the state produces “Ahimsa Silk”, which is unique. The silk is produced by a non-violent breeding and harvesting method, wherein the wild species is allowed completion of the metamorphosis to its moth stage.
He informed that the sericulture and weaving industry has a special significance in poverty alleviation, as it is labour intensive, less strenuous, requires less capital and has a good market. It also generates sizeable employment opportunities in the rural areas.
He informed that large segment of women in the state has taken up sericulture and wWeaving activities like silkworm rearing, silk reeling/ spinning and weaving in their own houses, besides attending to other household activities. “It not only ensures overall development of women, but also enables her to play a significant role in the family and the society,” Sangma said.
Currently, Meghalaya is implementing 3 (three) central schemes. Under sericulture sector, it is actively undertaking the Integrated Scheme for Development of eri silk industry in Ri-Bhoi district (aspirational district), wherein various forms of assistance are provided to eri farmers , such as financial assistance for raising of Eri Food plants, assistance for construction of Rearing House, Supply of rearing equipment, financial assistance for establishment of eri private graineurs, establishment of a cocoon bank, besides equipment support for establishment of a modern spinning unit, as a precursor to value addition.
In the handloom sector, several activities are being promoted, through the Cluster Development Programme. Under this scheme, 72 Handloom Cluster have been set up in every district covering 5307 weavers. The target groups are the traditional weavers, who are encouraged to form Self Help Groups, with the objective of enhancing productivity of Handloom fabrics in the Cluster. Weavers are also provided financial assistance for construction of worksheds and for setting up of yarn Banks in their own village clusters, to enable easy procurement of yarns at Mill Gate Price.
The scheme is also providing job opportunities for unemployed local youth. So far, 128 numbers of student graduates from Handloom Training Institute, Indian Institute of Handloom Technology and National Institution of Fashion Technology have been engaged as Cluster Development Executive and Textile Designers.
A unique project that has newly emerged is the Integrated Textile Tourism Complex at Nongpoh, which aims at both augmenting and leveraging the textile based tourism by setting up necessary infrastructure, comprising of traditional style cottages, restaurants, food court and emporium, for showcasing and marketing the diverse & rich handloom products of the State.