Overview of Handloom & Textile Department
Overview of the Department:-
The handloom sector is the second largest employer in India, providing employment to more than 35 lakh weavers and allied workers. Out of these about 13 lacs weavers are in Assam itself. The handloom sector represents the continuity of the age old Indian heritage of hand weaving and reflects the socio-cultural tradition of the weaving communities. Weaving in handloom has been a common household activity and an important cottage industry since time immemorial. Assamese women from the common people to the royal houses and irrespective of cast, creed, community, status and pursuit had woven all their required garments and other household apparels by themselves.
Yet for historical reasons and in spite of having inherent potentiality and glories past in the handloom industry could not grow as full time commercial activity in the state. Since independent, a lot has been done towards production of handloom clothes. But efforts seem to be not completed. At present the state has about 11 lakh of handlooms which constitute 30% of the total handlooms of the country. Yet, the production in both quality and quantity is far below expectation.
It has been observed that the most of the areas of the district are using primitive types of looms with primitive type of weaving. They needs proper skill up gradation training programme on handloom activities to improve their skill and methods of weaving to achieve required quality and quantity with the aims and objectives of self employment so that after training they could have earned and rise their status in the society.
The main objectives of the department is specially for up-gradation of skills of women weavers in Barpeta District, production of high value added items and setting up adequate forward and backward linkage for development of handloom activities of the targeted groups and co-operative societies. For this, the uncompetitive handloom products have to be phased out and replaced by commercially viable products meant for both domestic and foreign market.
- Focus on formation of weavers group as a visible entity.
- Develop the handloom weavers groups to become self sustainable.
- Inclusive approach to cover weavers both within and outside the co-operative fold.
- Skill up gradation of handloom weavers/ workers to produce diversified product with improved quality to meet the market requirements.
- Provide suitable work place to weavers to enable them to produce a quality product with improved productivity.
- Market orientation by associating entrepreneurs and professional for marketing, design and managing the production.
- Facilitate process of credit from financial institutions/ Banks.
- To develop & strengthen the Handloom Institution including WESU/HTC.
- Cultural Exchange by deputing weavers abroad.
Activities of Handloom and Textiles Department, Barpeta:-
- Preparation of Handloom scheme to ensure upliftment of rural economy through introduction of modern technology, motivation and demonstration of high value products.
- Upgrading skill of women and provide them appropriate training for taking up production activities.
- Implementation of Central and State Govt. sponsored employment assurance scheme.
- Regular supply of quality raw material at 30% subsidize rate through Yarn Bank producing fine products.
- Setting up of small production unit in the remote area so that the service can be provided to the weavers for improvement of economic condition by handloom.
Present Status of the weavers of the District:-
The district Barpeta is a weaving concentrated district. Most of the weavers of the district are producing traditional products of their own uses. Most of them are still using the country type throw shuttle looms. They need modern fly shuttle frame loom with improved accessories and proper Skill up-gradation training on Weaving, Designing, Dyeing etc. to make them commercial weavers. At present they are engaging in weaving leisure time and it is difficult to calculate their earnings. However their income is recorded at Rs. 150/- to 200/- per day per weaver (15 –20 days per month). At present the area has been producing the regular items like Assamese Gamocha, Chadar, Mekhela., Riha, Bed-sheet Bed-cover, Door & Window curtains, stole, swal etc. with various existing traditional designs and with colour combinations. The total number of weavers in the district is approximately 60 thousand with approximately forty thousand of handloom in the district.
In a study, it is found that the production of “Mekhela” (lower part of traditional women apparel) and “Chadar” (upper part of traditional women apparel) sheet together constitutes 76.64% of the total product produced by the weavers in a year. The uses of such traditional apparels are not widespread outside Assam. Therefore, the production is meant mainly for consumption within the state. During the Bihu season the weavers are mainly engaged in production of ‘Bihuan’ and the tribal communities are mainly engaged in production of Dakhana, arnai etc.the traditional dress material of tribal community.