Ministry of Textiles01-July, 2014 15:10 IST
President Presents National Awards, Shilp Guru Awards and Sant Kabir Awards for 2011
Artisans to be Protected from Patches of Lean Demand: Santosh Gangwar

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee has said that concerted and collective steps at multiple levels should be taken to safeguard handicrafts and handlooms in the long term. Speaking after presenting the National Awards, Shilp Guru Awards and Sant Kabir Awards to weavers and artisans for the year 2011 here today, the President said “these (measures) could include, for example, facilitation of easier access of these sectors to credit from banks and other financial institutions and the promotion of the products of these sectors in domestic and foreign markets.”

Speaking about the challenges faced by weavers and craftpersons The President said that the products in this sector remain vulnerable to competition from cheaper imports and machine made substitutes. These factors need to be addressed urgently, systematically and comprehensively and we must give more attention to development of capacity, skills, designs and infrastructure.

Highlighting the importance of the sector the President said the handlooms sector in India, with 24 lakh handlooms, provides employment to about 44 lakh persons and our handicrafts sector provides employment to about 70 lakh persons. The Textile Sector provides largest employment opportunities next to Agriculture. Between 2010 and the present, it is seen that despite the overall slowdown in the Indian economy there was a growth of 34% in exports from the handlooms sector and 126 % in the exports from the handicrafts sector.

Minister of State Independent charge for Textiles, Shri Santosh Gangwar congratulated the winners and conveyed nation’s gratitude for preserving, promoting and enriching the traditional cultural heritage of the country. He also informed about the various scheme being run by the Textiles Ministry in 12th Five Year Plan for handloom and handicrafts. “Main thrust of these schemes is to provide momentum through training and capacity building by integrating technology with craft and weaving techniques, which will lead to value addition in the craft as well as handloom products” he said.

The Minister also informed of approval of two mega clusters at Guntur and Prakasam in Andhra Pradesh and Godda in Jharkhan. These clusters are in addition to previously sanctioned four mega clusters. In addition, The Ministry is supporting setting up of Raw Material Bank to facilitate easy and regular availability of certified raw material to artisans. Shri Gangwar also highlighted the Ministry’s efforts to broaden existing marketing infrastructure so that the artisans and weavers continue to get opportunities to sell their products throughout the year without having to face the patches of lean demand.

Textiles Secretary, Smt Zohra Chatterjee reiterated Ministry’s commitment to the welfare of the artisans. She emphasized the need to popularize traditional products among the youth. She said that ‘Setu Yozna’ of associating designers with handloom and handicraft cluster is bringing good results.

The office of the Development Commissioner (handicrafts) and Development Commissioner(Handlooms) jointly implement the scheme of Shilp Guru, Sant Kabir and National Awards for Master Weavers and Master Craftpersons. The president gave away 46 national awards in handloom and handicrafts and 10 Shilp Guru Awards and 2 Sant Kabir awards for the year 2011.

****


DS
(Release ID :105985)