The minister of state for textiles Ajay Tamta categorically stated the textile & handicrafts sector is economically important from the point of low capital investment, high ratio of value addition, and high potential for export and foreign exchange earnings for the country said at an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi today.
Indian textile & Handicrafts industry constitutes an important segment of the Indian economy as it is one of the largest employment generators after agriculture. The sector employs about 7 million people directly and indirectly, which include a large number of women and people belonging to the weaker sections of the society, said Mr Tamta, Minister of State for Textiles while inaugurating an ASSOCHAM National Conference on Women in Textiles & Handicrafts Industry: Weaving the Threads of Livelihood at New Delhi.
Handlooms & Handicraft and women, both the terms have their individual identity and the fruitful amalgamation of both gives them a more meaningful identity. These industries are a major source of income for rural communities in general and for rural women in particular. Though a large number of female workforce, both urban and tribal, from all sections of the society are involved in appropriate returns for their efforts, said Mr. Tamta.
The joint study released by ASSOCHAM-Resurgent on ‘Women in Textiles & Handicrafts Industry’ reveals that the market size of India’s textile market is expected to touch $250 billion in the next two years from the current level of $150 billion.
The textile sector in India accounts for 10% of the country’s manufacturing production, 5% of India’s GDP, and 13% of India’s exports earnings. Textile and apparel sector is the second largest employment provider in the country employing nearly 51 million people directly and 68 million people indirectly in 2015-16, adds the study.
Demonetisation and the transition to GST have hit smaller players hard. The number of workers affected due to closure of cotton and man-made fibre textile units (the bigger units that comprise the non-SSI segment of the industry) during 2016-17 was 4,356 on account of the closure of 18 units, according to official Textile Ministry data on non-SSI units.
During the previous two years, the numbers were 7,938 workers affected by the closure of 27 units in 2015-16 and 5,384 workers affected from the closure of 21 units in 2014-15, taking the cumulative figure to over 17,600 workers impacted by the closure of 67 units in the last three years.
The GST rollout has further hit SME players in textile hubs such as Surat, Bhiwadi and Ichalkaranji. Capital goods firms are struggling as most of the downstream sectors are saddled with excess capacity and low demand.
It is estimated that out of the total number of persons employed in Handlooms, Handicrafts, and Sericulture, about 50% are women. There are more women in the household industry than in the registered small scale or cottage units. However, in the organised sector the percentage of women workers is extremely low, with the exception being garmenting.
Efforts are being made to restore glory of cottage based traditional sectors like handlooms, handicrafts, jute and wool through an integrated approach covering entire value chain. To provide encouragement to textile manufactures and farmers of raw materials, the government has been providing incentives like minimum support price to cotton farmers, upgrading the technology for handloom weavers and providing centres for trade facilitation.
The textiles and garments sector is one of the largest employment generators in the country. India has around 2 million power looms manufacturing around 20 billion meters of cloth, highlighted the study.
The power looms sector accounts for around 60 percent of the total textiles sector. The sector is largely unorganized with many players having hardly 10–20 looms and weaving on an average around 1,000 meters of cloth per loom per month, depending on quality of cloth and loom used to manufacture. Many run their looms on job-work basis and many buy yarn and manufacture cloth. These units are spread across Bhiwandi, Surat, Ichalkaranji, Erode, Bhilwara, to name a few large centres where power looms industry is operating.
They are often victims of gender inequality as it is embedded deep in our society and also represents our social-political structure. Women have embarked on a new journey to discover and unravel their talents through their dedication and hard work despite being bound with family obstacles and social drawbacks. There are many institutions who have pledged to support the basic needs and empower indigenous women to expand their opportunities. The sole intention of these organizations is to provide the women access to necessary education, health care, employment and a social standing. These vulnerable and dependent women are trained mostly in the textile and weaving industry to make them independent and economically empowered.