Bargarh: June 25: 45-day long skill up gradation training programme for Scheduled Caste handloom weavers belonging to Sohlela Block in Bargarh district of Odisha was inaugurated by Union Textiles Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar yesterday. Speaking on the occasion, Gangwar said that the Central Government is implementing several new initiatives under the guidance of Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which are aimed at raising earnings of handloom weavers to Rs. 500 per day. He also said that the Government is giving special priority to handloom weavers belonging to Scheduled Caste. Out of more than 600 weavers who will be benefited by the block-level cluster project in Sohela, 90% weavers belong to the SC category. The Minister added that the Ministry of Textiles has requested State Governments to send projects of blocks that have concentration of SC weavers, on priority. Bargarh area of Odisha is a large cluster of handloom weaving and is famous for tie and dye Ikat weaves. It has produced a large number of national awardees.
Block level cluster project is the new approach adopted by the Government for comprehensive development of handloom weavers. Under this, a project can avail assistance up to two crore rupees, for activities such as skill upgradation, loom upgradation, work sheds, professional assistance from a designer, common facility centre, dye house and a raw material depot. Government has sanctioned 228 such projects in the last one year, 19 of which are in Odisha. Handloom weavers receive a wage compensation of Rs. 210 per day from the Government, during the training period. Another major initiative taken by the Government to improve earnings of handloom weavers is to provide them with working capital loan under MUDRA scheme, with added benefits of interest subsidy and margin money; this would enable maximum realisation of sale price by the weavers. The Government has set a target of providing such loans to 5 lakh handloom weavers in next three years. Shri Rajendra Meher, Ikat producer under India Handloom Brand was given a loan sanction letter for Rs. 10 lakh today by IDBI Bank. Several other weavers were given loan sanction letters ranging from Rs. 5 lakh to 10 lakh. Thirteen pass-outs of the Handloom Entrepreneur course were also given loan under MUDRA scheme.
Handloom Entrepreneur course is a pioneering initiative of the Ministry of Textiles which gives four-month long intensive training to young handloom weavers, grooming them to become successful entrepreneurs. Training is given in areas like marketing, e-commerce, quality control and financial management. The course complies with National Skill Qualification Framework and assessment is done by authorised assessors of Textile Sector Skill Council. Sixty such young handloom entrepreneurs have completed training in Indian Institutes of Handloom Technology at Bargarh, Varanasi and Salem. MLA Shri Pradip Purohit and Development Commissioner (Handlooms), Shri Alok Kumar were among others those present on this occasion.