The proposals to withdraw Marketing Incentive (MI) following revised guidelines of the National Handloom Development Corporation Limited (NHDC) and 10 percent subsidy on hank yarn are set to hit the handloom weavers hard.
Maintaining that handloom is a cottage industry and the cost of production is high compared to powerloom products, MI is essential to compensate the weavers to allow them to compete in the market and also ensure that they get regular work.
Sambalpuri Bastralaya Handloom Co-operative Society Limited president Sambit Acharya said that after the decision to impose GST on handloom, now, as per the revised guidelines of NHDP, Market Incentive will be sanctioned to Weavers Co-operative Societies whose turnover is less than Rs30 crore.
Acharya said that it is being proposed to do away with 10 percent subsidy on hank yarn. Coupled with GST and abolition of subsidy from hank yarn, prices of handloom products will skyrocket and will be out of bounds of the buyers. Hence, it would not be possible for the Co-operative Societies to ensure the
livelihood of the poor weavers.
As these factors are likely to affect the livelihood and welfare of the weavers, a worried Sambalpuri Bastralaya Handloom Co-operative Society Limited president Sambit Acharya has shot off a letter to Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani to reconsider the decision and safeguard the interest of the weavers. The co-operative society has helped Sambalpuri handloom carve a niche for itself across the globe.
The Bastralaya has an annual turnover of Rs50 crore and it provides raw materials, including hank yarn and dyes besides technical knowhow and designs. This ensures them a sustainable livelihood as the Bastralaya also markets their products with support from the governments indirectly helping thousands of weavers under various Weavers Co-operative Societies.
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