First meeting has been organized September 17 where e-tailer Flipkart officials will be interacting with the weavers of Kashi to understand each other and also discuss various issues related to handloom sector, said Tapan Sharma, deputy director, Weavers' Service Centre (WSC).
This will be the first meeting after an MoU signed between the e-tailer Flipkart and the development commissioner (handlooms) under the Ministry of Textiles to start a pilot project in Varanasi wherein the e-tailer will source handloom materials from local weavers.
The e-tailer is planning to give boost to the handloom weavers in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's constituency by sourcing silk products from the city and selling it online.
Under the DC Handlooms office, a network of WSCs functions across the country to play a role in skill up-gradation, capacity building and dissemination of technological interventions to the weaving community which will reduce drudgery and result in better productivity. The WSCs provide design input to the weavers through their designers, arrange training programmes for the weavers in various pre-weaving, weaving and post weaving disciplines such as winding, warping, sizing dyeing, design making etc. The WSCs also sponsor weavers in various trade fairs and expos to help them establish direct market linkages.
Flipkart, under the agreement, will provide online marketing platform, infrastructural support in data analytics and customer acquisition to help weavers get remunerative prices for their products and scale up their business. The company will also have collection centers to collect their products.
Flipkart, with its access to one of the largest e-customer base in the country, aims to help weavers make optimal use of the available data to guide entrepreneurs and artisans on areas such as deciding on the right selling price, payment automation, proper packaging, transportation, and brand building.
After the announcement of sop to Banarasi weavers in the Union budget, the e-way step is seen as a major boost to the sector. In the Union budget, a fund of Rs 50 crore was allocated to establish a trade facilitation centre and a crafts museum to develop and promote handloom products of Varanasi. The idea was to develop and promote handloom products and carry forward the rich tradition of handlooms. Besides, a fund of Rs 500 crore has also been set aside for developing a textile mega-cluster at Varanasi and six other places including Bareilly, Lucknow, Surat, Kutch, Bhagalpur and Mysore.
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