Marking International Women’s Day that is being celebrates on March 8th across the world, the Indian government acknowledged females in its own way. The Ministry of Textiles has formulated various schemes that empower women engaged in handloom and handicrafts sector.
As per the 3rd Handloom Census (2009-10), there are about 43.31 lakh handloom weavers and allied workers, of which 77% are women weavers & allied workers, who are involved in weaving and allied activities and earning income for their families. The benefits of following four schemes is reaching to women weavers and workers:
1. National Handloom Development Programme which has the following components:
(i) Block Level Cluster
(ii) Handloom Marketing Assistance
(iii) Concessional credit/weavers Mudra Scheme
2. Handloom Weavers’ Comprehensive Welfare Scheme
3. Yarn Supply Scheme
4. Comprehensive Handloom Cluster Development Scheme
There is 100% subsidy to SC/ST/BPL and women weavers for construction of work sheds under National Handloom Development Programme. Under Block Level Cluster component of National Handloom Development Programme, 412 Block Level Clusters have been sanctioned in last three years and the current year (2015-16 to 2018-19), under which coverage of women beneficiaries is 1,71,822.
Seven National Awards (Kamladevi Chattopadhyay Awards) and National Merit Certificate (Kamladevi Chattopadhyay Awards) were conferred on women weavers during National Handloom Day celebrated at Jaipur on 7th August 2018. There is 75% subsidy to SC/ST, BPL and women weavers for enrolment under NIOS and IGNOU courses.
In the handicrafts sector, there are about 7 million artisans in the country. Under Pehchan Initiative, approximately 25 lakh artisans have been identified for the issuance of I.D. Card and till date 19.97 lakh ID cards have already been issued. The percentage of female artisans is 56.07%.
Other major initiatives:
- 65 clusters have been identified and their mentors nominated for overall development through need based interventions and of them 24 clusters (854 SHGs) are exclusively run by women artisans.
- From 2016, five National Awards and five National Merit Certificates have been reserved exclusively for women artisans. Till date 117 Shilp Guru awards (13 women Shilip Gurus) and 1193 national awards (189 women awardees) have been conferred on meritorious artisans.
- MoU has been signed with Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) to encourage learning opportunities and the courses are specially designed for artisans and their children wherein reimbursement of 75% of the fee for women and SC/ST/BPL is being done.
- There is a provision of financial support to artisans in indigent circumstances for awardee craftsperson below 60 years of age, having annual income below Rs. 50,000 @ Rs.3500/- p.m. 75 women awardee artisans are receiving financial assistance.
- Ministry of Textiles holds special marketing events for women artisans on International Women’s Day:
In India, sericulture development is inextricably woven with participation of women and the production of silk has been recognized as an occupation of the women, for the women and by the women. Ministry of Textiles has taken measures for empowering women through sericulture through various activities.
1. Women Empowerment under Silk Samagra: Sericulture is mainly known as a house hold activity being practised by women. About 55% of women are engaged in silk production value chain. Under Silk Samagra, Government of India has set a target to produce 38500 MTs of raw silk and to generate 100 lakh productive employment from 78.50 lakhs in 2013-14 (additional 21.50 lakh). With this the employment of women in sericulture is expected to increase to 55 lakh in 2020 from 43.20 lakh.
2. Buniyaad to eradicate thigh Reeling: Tasar silk is produced in India mainly by tribal women through the age old thigh reeling practice which is unhygienic, labour intensive, involves drudgery and is unproductive. Invariably, this practice leads to skin blemishes, allergies and infections besides, causing more inconvenience to women Tasar reelers. In order to eradicate this thigh reeling practice, the Government has decided to completely eradicate the thigh reeling with improved Buniyaad Reeling Machines by supplying 10,000 machines by 2020. Towards this, 4956 machines are being supplied to the women beneficiaries by March 2019 so as to ensure good health, hygiene besides rightful earning to the poor rural and tribal women reelers.
3. Act East Initiatives: To create livelihood opportunities in North East Region, in line with the Act East initiative of Prime Minister of India, the Textiles Ministry is implementing 32 projects under its North East Region Textile Promotion Scheme (NERTPS) from 2014-15 onwards with Central Government’s share of Rs.849 crore through various segments of silk production value chain from farm to fabric. It is directly benefiting 60,000 beneficiaries covering around 45,000 women beneficiaries.
Stand-up India Scheme is available for new Powerloom units established by a person who belongs to SC/ST/woman entrepreneur category and financial assistance to the tune of 25% margin money (Max. Rs.25 lakh) on the machinery cost is admissible subject to the borrower bringing up in 10% of the project cost as his/her own contribution. Under this scheme, reimbursements of credit guarantee fee upto 1% of the loan amount is also allowed.
Till date, out of 276 applications submitted through online system for Stand-up India scheme under Powertex India Scheme, 250 applications pertain to women entrepreneurs. The estimated investment is about Rs. 200 crore from 01-04-2017 to till date.
INTEGRATED SKILL DEVELOPMENT SCHEME (ISDS):
With a view to address the critical skill gap in the textile sector, the Ministry of Textiles introduced ISDS. Under this scheme, 6, 41,983 women were trained since 2014-15 to 2018-19 which is 72% of total trained under the scheme. Out of this 6,17,915 have been assessed and 5,32,660 have been placed in their respective sectors.