Telangana govt with Microsoft to enable digitalization of handloom

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2017-06-27 10:00:00 – Hyderabad

The Digital Resource Centre at the Tourism Complex in Pochampally has been set up by Microsoft India with a view to revive some traditional forms in India’s textile heritage and enable Telangana weavers to continue their traditional craft for a sustainable livelihood. The Digital Resource Centre was recently inaugurated by Hon'ble Minister KT Rama Rao and Principal Secretary Jayesh Ranjan.

Microsoft partnered with Chaitanya Bharathi - a non-profit organisation for this initiative since last year. The support provided to weavers includes capital funding for the looms, counseling the weavers to continue their craft, conducting workshops to train the artisans in natural dyeing and design skills and getting customer orders of people interested in buying handloom products. The work includes supporting them from the time of procurement of raw materials to marketing of the finished products.

This year with the help of the Government of Telangana, Microsoft is setting up a Digital Empowerment Center in the textile park of Pochampally. The digital center will train weavers to use design software and also enable them to have an online sales presence.

The setting up of this center marks an important milestone in Microsoft’s ongoing endeavors to help revive traditional handlooms of Telangana like the double Ikat. Weavers from here and nearby clusters can start using technology to expand their design knowledge and market reach. This center will also impart appropriate training for weavers to use appropriate software to create new designs or contemporize existing ones, to set up e-markets, and even use technology to preserve their craft.

The company, in partnership with the Digital Empowerment Foundation, has earlier launched DigiKala - a project aimed at the inclusive and decentralized use of ICT and digital tools in critical aspects such as upskilling, design, marketing, and entrepreneurship, besides creating sustainable livelihood options for the youth in these clusters. So far, the project has touched more than 22,000 plus weavers and 9,000 handloom stations in these regions.

Speaking about the initiative, Anil Bhansali, Managing Director, Microsoft India (R and D) said that they are thankful to the Government of Telangana for their support in launching the Digital Empowerment Center for the weavers in and around the Pochampally cluster.

In 2016, Microsoft helped the weavers revive their looms and conducted workshops to train young weavers in developing natural dyeing and design skills and ensured them that craft can still give them a sustainable livelihood. The footprint for these revival projects has their reach beyond Telangana.

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