Biju Janta Dal (BJD) MP Amar Patnaik on Wednesday proposed a central income support scheme like the PM-Kisan Nidhi for the weaver community in India to help them to face hardships during COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters.
He proposed the scheme during a Special Mention in the Rajya Sabha in which he said that there should be income support scheme for weaver households on similar lines of the PM KISAN, with Rs 6,000 provided in three equal instalments over the year and directly transferred to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries.
"The Indian handloom industry, with a rich repertoire of skills, is an essential part of Indian heritage. According to the Fourth All India Handloom census (2019-20), 31.45 lakh households are engaged in handloom activities, making it the second-largest employment sector. The majority (66.3 per cent) of households earn less than Rs. 5,000 per month," he stated in his proposal.
Due to limited resources, poor infrastructure and a lack of marketing support, many weavers face insurmountable debt, poor living standards, and loss of artistic dignity, he said.
According to Patnaik, the ongoing pandemic has also heavily impacted this sector-- shops, exhibitions are forced shut, limited access to capital and raw materials.
"Further, according to the UNDP, 71,060 handicraft artisans and 47,208 weavers in Odisha were affected by the cyclone F. Making this sector economically viable and aspirational for the next generation is, therefore, crucial," he said.
He proposed a central sector scheme for the weaver community in India.Other than providing Rs 6,000 in three equal installments over the year, the scheme proposed that the responsibility to identify households will lie with the State government. There should be long-term weaving contracts, E-commerce platforms for handloom products, Market-oriented design development training programs, Social security coverage.
This scheme follows the Government's Atma Nirbhar Bharat vision of becoming vocal for our local products, he said.
"I sincerely urge the government to consider this proposal for the benefit of the weaver community," he said.
( With inputs from ANI )
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