National Handloom Day celebrated as AIHB abolishment in process

Gangtok, August 8: On August 7, India celebrated the 6th National Handloom Day through a virtual function organized by the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India. August 7 marks the day when the Swadeshi Movement was launched in 1905 and the primary objective of this day is to generate awareness about the handloom industry, to […] The post National Handloom Day celebrated as AIHB abolishment in process appeared first on The Sikkim Chronicle - Sikkim News.

National Handloom Day celebrated as AIHB abolishment in process

Gangtok, August 8: On August 7, India celebrated the 6th National Handloom Day through a virtual function organized by the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India.

August 7 marks the day when the Swadeshi Movement was launched in 1905 and the primary objective of this day is to generate awareness about the handloom industry, to protect India’s handloom heritage and to give the handloom weavers and workers greater opportunities, and to ensure sustainable development of the handloom sector thus empowering handloom workers financially and also instilling pride in their craftsmanship.

The handloom weaving community was honoured with the Ministry of Textiles hosting a social media campaign for the handloom weaving community with all the Secretaries of States, Textile Bodies like the Central Silk Board, National Jute Board, e-commerce entities, retail companies and designer bodies.

Under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, Handloom Export Promotion Council (HEPC) organized a Virtual Fair, which connected more than 150 participants from various regions of the country who showcased their products with unique designs and skills. Along with the launching of a mobile app and backend website for Handloom Mark Scheme (HLM), alongside the launching of My Handloom Portal as well

Meanwhile, it was also noted that All India Handloom Board was abolished weeks before this annual celebration, on July 27, by the Ministry of Textiles through a notification.

The All India Handicrafts Board which was constituted on January 23, 1992, to advise the Government in formulating policy for the overall development of the handloom sector under the Chairmanship of Union Minister of Textiles with official members from the Central and State Governments and non-official members from the handloom industry.

The Board would advise the Ministry of Textile on development programs for handicrafts. While the All India Handloom Board was reconstituted from time to time, the present Board was reconstituted for a period of two years.

With the abolishment of the All India Handicrafts Board, brings the end of an official forum where weavers and craftspeople could raise their voices directly and be empowered to advise the government on policy and spending.

The move can be considered in consonance with the Centre’s vision of ‘minimum government and maximum governance’ to pursuit achieving good governance, leaner government machinery, and the need for systematic rationalization of government bodies.

This abolishment has also caused concern to many as the government platforms for such direct interactions are fastly reducing. While some like Laila Tyabji, one of the founders of Dastkar which is a Delhi-based non-governmental organization, which works for the ‘revival of traditional crafts in India.

She is also a social worker, designer, writer, and craft activist. On the abolishment of the All India Handicrafts Board, Tyabji through a social media platform has written the following- “All these years on, it remained the one official forum, however, watered down, where the voices and views of weavers and craftspeople could be expressed directly.

One place where representatives of the sector were present in considerable numbers and were empowered to advise the Government in policy and sectoral spending… The spaces where people themselves can interact directly with Government, or be part of their governance, are certainly becoming leaner and increasingly few in number. It is worrying.”

The Textile Ministry after abolishing the Board has decided to work towards the upliftment of the weavers and craftsmen through National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), through the set up of Design Resource Centres (DRCs) in all 28 Weavers Service Centres (WSCs) through NIFT with these objectives:

• To build and create design-oriented excellence in the Handloom Sector.

• To facilitate weavers, exporters, manufacturers, and designers for creating new designs.

To learn further about how the local artisans and handloom weavers of the State feel on the abolishment of the All India Handloom Board, SC spoke to Chimi Bhuta owner of Lagstal Design Studio which is an online store for handmade and eco-friendly home decor and other things.

Chimi says that Lagstal Design Studio is a small effort in the direction of reducing the impact on the environment from every little small thing that we do in our daily life, thus through shifting towards eco-friendly products, one can contribute towards saving our environment while also working towards sustainability.

On the abolishment of the Board, she says, “It’s a great step taken by the Centre Government as the Board needed a step towards modernising handloom and handicrafts. Millions of our artisans are exploited by this so-called Board. In return, we hope that the Centre Government brings out a fresh revival policy for the handloom and handicrafts sector which will help millions of artisans who are dependent on these sectors.”

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