Union textiles minister, Smriti Irani has announced ‘Kamaladevi Chattopadhya National Awards’, especially for women handloom weavers and women handicraft artisans on the occasion of International Women’s Day. The awards being instituted from this year to help women weavers and artisans receive due recognition and economic benefits.
The awards will be a small tribute to recognise the craft excellence and hard work being put in by millions of women working in their homes, carrying forward the torch of India’s proud handloom and handicraft heritage.
Irani also opened a special campaign to provide Mudra loans to women handloom weavers throughout the country. She said more than 1,700 women weavers are being given such loans, to start the campaign. On the occasion, five weavers received these loans from the minister. An online portal called ‘Handloom Weaver Mudra Portal’ has been launched in association with Punjab National Bank to allow weavers and officials to do real-time tracking of their loan application status.
The minister also launched a national campaign to eliminate the exploitative and unhygienic practice of thigh reeling in India. Irani noted that 30 per cent of the tussar silk produced in India is through the practice of thigh reeling. In order to put an end to this unhygienic and inhuman practice, the ministry is starting the distribution of woman-friendly Buniyaad Reeling Machines to woman silk reelers.
Developed by Central Silk Technological Research Institute that falls under the aegis of Central Silk Board (CSB), ministry of textiles, the Buniyaad machine not only reduces the drudgery involved in thigh reeling, but also improves productivity and income. Irani hoped that the machine becomes affordable for the marginal entrepreneurs, given the 75 per cent subsidy provided by the centre.
Textile ministry and National Backward Classes Finance & Development Corporation signed two MoUs with the main objective of increasing earnings of millions of women handloom weavers and artisans belonging to backward classes. Irani also launched Handicraft Development Projects for the benefit of women artisans belonging to Schedule Tribes as well, to promote various crafts.
Irani said the vision of the ministry is to deliver targeted benefits to women weavers and artisans. She dedicated the initiatives for women, under the theme ‘Mahila Vikas Mahila Ke Saath’, along with the lines of Prime Minister Modi’s governance philosophy of ‘Sab Ka Saath Sab Ka Vikas’.
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