Repeal of Handlooms Act 1985 : Drawbacks

Repeal of Handlooms Act 1985 : Drawbacks

Question - The government is planning to repeal the Handloom (Reservation of Articles for Production) Act 1985. Discuss the drawbacks of such a plan and importance of the Indian handloom sector.

Repeal of Handlooms Act 1985: Drawbacks

• The Handloom (Reservation of Articles for Production) Act 1985 has been protecting traditional handloom weaves from being copied by machine made, power-loom competitors

• The Act is protection for handloom weavers who will otherwise face problems when their yarn, designs and markets will be under attack

• Cheap power-loom clothes and products will flood the market and destroy the livelihood of handloom weavers

• Handloom is a growing sector wherein the market has shifted from the rural to the urban

• Growth will be marred if this act is repealed as weavers will then face problems in :

- Yarn procurement
- Access to credit
- Access to markets

Handloom Sector: Strengths

• Indian handlooms are not only the biggest source of job and income generation, they also promote creativity, skill and expertise

• Handlooms have low carbon footprint

• They require least amount of infrastructure, technology and power

• Handlooms create distinctive weaves and designs no power-loom can match

• Indian handloom is an integral part of India’s cultural identity

Facts and Stats

• Estimated 20 million handloom workers (including pre-loom and post-loom processes) as against 3 million workers in the IT industry

• Handloom sector raises jobs in rural areas where unemployment is high
• Sales figures are high for this sector at weaving exhibitions and designer handloom is a niche market

• Example: Fabindia consumers 11.2 million metres of handloom fabric per year, 10 lakh metres per month at total value of INR 112 crore

• This generates 100,000 man days of employment and 86,000 jobs
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