Textile industry offers economic empowerment to women: Anil Raj Kumar, Additional Development Commissioner for Handlooms, Ministry of Textiles

18 November, 2017

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Anil Raj Kumar, Additional Development Commissioner for Handlooms, Ministry of Textiles, stressed how the textile sector is the only sector where men are a minority.  It has provided livelihoods and empowered women across the country he said, in his Keynote Address at ASSOCHAM’s National Conference on Women in Textiles and Handicrafts Industry. He also spoke of the Indian Handloom Brand set up to encourage weavers by connecting them to the market via e-commerce.

Ajay Tamta, Minister of State for textiles highlighted the demand for Indian handicrafts and textiles internationally. Textiles and handlooms, particularly carpets make up for a large portion of Indian exports he said. While employment opportunities are huge, the main challenge is to encourage communities of artisans to continue practicing their vocation. The minister spoke of steps taken to incentivize this.

Development Commissioner for Handicrafts, Shantmanu, mentioned steps like subsidies to enable artisans to purchase looms and weaving accessories in his theme address. Another major initiative was pan- India handloom and handicraft camps to provide services including issuance of credit facilities to weavers and artisans. He underscored the need for young people in the industry to become entrepreneurs. The main challenge he said was that the education system trains people to be workers and not owners of businesses.

Dr. Anil Sahasrabudhe, Chairman, All India Council for Technical Education, further emphasized the need for youth to become skilled job creators and not job seekers. He added that skilling will be possible only when there is a culture where all work is considered dignified. He recommended introduction of skills based learning in schools, reskilling to equip youth for changes in industry and encouraging vocational training for school dropouts.

The event also witnessed the felicitation of individuals who have set up textile and handicraft ventures to provide livelihoods to various marginalized groups. There was also a launch of a knowledge paper titled ‘Women in Textiles and Handicraft Industry: Weaving the threads of Livelihoods’ prepared by ASSOCHAM, as well as a technical session on developments and challenges in the sector.

Prominent dignitaries that participated in the conference included; Rakesh Kumar Srivasta, Executive Director, National Centre for Design and Product Development, Ministry of Textiles; Seema Mahajan, Head- Academic Governance, Pearl Academy; Sadhvi Jaya Bharti, Representative – Prisoner Reformation and Rehabilitation Program and Spokesperson; Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan; Senior Member, ASSOCHAM - Babu Lal Jain and Teena Sharma, Director, ASSOCHAM Women Foundation among others.