Guwahati: The Assam government will procure unsold traditional handloom items from weavers to help them overcome COVID-19 challenges, an official statement said.

The procurement will be done under the “Swanirbhar Naari” (Self-reliant Women) scheme, and around 1.23 lakh weavers will be covered in the first phase, it said.

The decision was taken when the state cabinet had on Wednesday approved a handicraft policy to provide market linkages and online marketing support to weavers to facilitate export of their products.

The policy also aimed at providing training and technological support to artisans and entrepreneurs.

“With a view to provide relief to handloom weavers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in the state, the Assam government will procure unsold stocks of traditional handloom items from indigenous weavers.

“In the first phase, approximately 1.23 lakh weavers having yarn passbook will be covered, ” the statement said.

Yarn Passbook is a document of supply of the raw material to individual handloom weavers.

In a meeting with officials of the Handloom and Textiles Department to review the “Swanirbhar Naari” scheme, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had on Wednesday directed them to ensure that no middleman can take advantage of the initiative.

The “Swanirbhar Naari – Atmanirbhar Asom Scheme 2020” was launched to help economically weaker women.

For smooth implementation of the scheme during the next financial year, Sarma also directed the department to open a weaver registration portal and procurement centres in each block.

During the meeting, the department apprised the chief minister of the fact that 29 handloom items, including Gamosa, Aronai, Karbi Poho and Dimasa Risa Basa, have been identified.

The state government has already earmarked Rs 80 crore for the initiative for the financial year 2021-22, the statement said.

The procured items will be sold at showrooms of Assam Apex Weavers and Artisans Cooperative Federation Ltd and Assam Government Marketing Corporation Ltd, and also on online marketing platforms.

Eighty-seven procurement centres have been identified across the northeastern state.



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