ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Plight of the Handloom Industry

Like other informal work activities, handloom weaving also underwent a deep crisis during different

Like other informal work activities, handloom weaving also underwent a deep crisis during different phases of the COVID-19 lockdown in India. Lockdowns imposed to contain the spread of the pandemic resulted in a grave economic shock to the Indian economy and the handloom industry was severely affected by it. Unable to procure raw materials on time and market their finished products, the handloom weavers in India became unemployed involuntarily, which led to the total or partial loss of livelihood for a long time. Due to the lack of savings, the weavers became heavily debt-burdened (mostly through informal sources of credit) and survived because of the government’s mercy in terms of food rations and nominal financial assistance. Though the handloom industry has its own resilience mechanism, it could not withstand the current economic crisis caused by the ongoing health disaster in the absence of government support. Therefore, given the present situation of the handloom weavers, this industry needs a big push for its revival.

The household-based handloom industry, which comes under micro industries, has been an informal occupation since centuries. After farming activities, the second-most employment-generating sector in the unorganised economy has been handloom weaving. The importance of the handloom industry lies in its cultural relevance, employment opportunities, and export potential. This sector is mainly capable of providing employment to the unskilled and semi-skilled masses of the rural and semi-urban areas. The artistic works on the fabrics are so exquisite and the colour combinations so unique that the handloom products of India are highly acknowledged and demanded across the globe. This has made India the highest producer of handloom fabrics as 95% of the woven cloth in the world comes from India. The major importers of Indian handloom products have been the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France, Japan, Saudi Arabia, etc. The labour-inten­sive handloom industry mostly employs family labour. The technology used is simple, power consumption is minimal, and the production process is non-hazardous either to the human beings or to the environment.

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Updated On : 24th Jul, 2022
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