The Assam government has formally started the procurement of hand-woven traditional items under its Directorate of Handloom and Textile's 'Swanirbhar Naari' scheme, aimed at empowerment of the weaving community.
Through this, direct procurement of hand-woven items by the government agency will be taken up without the involvement of any middleman.
Around 4.8 lakh female weavers from across the State have registered their names on the respective portal and shall be selling their products across 100 procurement centres that are being set up, Chief Minister's Office said in a release.
Addressing the launch ceremony in Guwahati, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the initiative to procure hand-woven items directly from the weavers would prove helpful in protecting the traditional handloom sector of the State from the onslaught of the powerloom industry.
Referring to Gandhi's famous quote, "Assamese women weave dreams on their looms" Chief Minister Sarma said the handloom sector, which he referred to as an art representing the Assamese cultural identity, has been suffering immensely owing to the markets being flooded with cheaper products produced on power loom.
Stating that there were massive markets for Assam-made handloom products in the domestic as well as the international markets, the Chief Minister expressed that this procurement initiative would help the handloom sector of the State gain an upper hand over the powerloom industry.
He added the 'Swanirbhar Naari' initiative would provide a sense of economic security to the weavers, as it guarantees assured return on their investments in time and resources.
Handloom and Textile Minister UrkhaoGwra Brahma among other state ministers was present at the event.
Further, referring to the Centre's Handloom (Reservation of Articles for Production) Act of 1985, which bans the manufacture with power loom of 11 items, as well as their sale, and whose production has been reserved for the handloom sector alone, Chief Minister Sarma said the government would ensure the laws of the land on handloom are enforced. Government agencies would launch a campaign to ensure items reserved for the handloom sector are not produced by the power loom industry.
The Chief Minister also expressed his gratitude towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi for popularizing the Assamese hand-woven Gamusa by using the same in various official ceremonies across the country as well as abroad. The recent granting of the Geographical Indication tag would also provide a great impetus to the popularization of the gamusa.
(With Inputs from ANI)