Handloon Sector | Weaving

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  Proceedings of the Workshop on Crisis in Handloom Sector in Andhra Pradesh:The Ways Forward G  AP  S   Series  Workshop Proceedings : 1September 2004 K SrinivasuluV Anil KumarK S Vijaya Sekhar Governance And Policy Spaces (G  AP S) Project Centre for Economic and Social Studies Nizamiah Observatory Campus, BegumpetHyderabad - 500 016, Andhra Pradesh, India.  Preface The handloom sector is a major non-farm employer in the country. This sector has beenexperiencing periodic crisis since the 1980s. Andhra Pradesh State, which has secondlargest concentration of handlooms, has been the site of an acute crisis manifest in theperiodic starvation deaths and suicides among the weavers.To discuss the problems of the handloom industry and the weavers in it and to explore itsprospects in the context of globalization and liberalization, a one day workshop on the“Crisis in Handloom Sector in Andhra Pradesh: The Ways Forward” was conducted on 9 th August 2004 under the aegis of Governance and Policy Spaces (G  AP S) Project in theCentre for Economic and Social Studies (CESS), Hyderabad. G  AP S Project is the initia-tive of a group of political scientists focusing on research and advocacy on governanceand policy processes in Andhra Pradesh. The aim of the Project is to explore the spaceswithin the policy processes and to influence them from the point of view of the marginalized.The workshop was attended by weavers, weavers’ organization representatives, differentparty leaders, NGO representatives, journalists apart from academics and researchers. Theworkshop focused and deliberated upon the following themes: i) Availability of yarn andother inputs ii) State of the weavers’ cooperatives, iii) Marketing of the handloom cloth iv)Welfare policies for handloom weavers, v) Policy spaces   for the vulnerable sections in thecontext of liberalization.To perspectivise and contextualise the proceedings we have included an introductory es-say entitled ‘Handloom Sector and Policies: An Overview’.We are publishing the proceedings of the workshop as part of the G  AP S series because of the wider public and policy relevance of the issues and the informed and intense dialoguethe workshop could generate. The participants have extended cooperation by acceptingour invitation and shown serious engagement with the issues during the discussions. Prof S Mahendra Dev, the Director, CESS encouraged us in our efforts. Prof Rajen Harshe, SriKJ Rama Rao, Sri M Mohan Rao, Sri D Subba Rao, among others helped us with theirvaluable suggestions. Prof S Mahendra Dev, Prof K Srinivasulu, Dr Md Noor Basha, Prof Rajen Harshe and Dr Sarangapaani chaired different sessions and helped us in the smoothconduct of the workshop. Dr V Anil Kumar and Sri KS Vijaya Sekhar were instrumentalin successfully organizing the workshop and in preparing the transcript of the proceed-ings. Thanks are due to all of them. K SrinivasuluHonorary DirectorG  AP S Project  Contents Preface..........................................................................................................................................IIIHandloom Sector and Policies: An Overview by K Srinivasulu...............................5 -11Introductory Remarks..................................................................................................................12 Sessions I. Yarn Availability and Issues Related.................................................................................13 -16II. Weavers’ Cooperatives and Emerging Issues.................................................................17 - 21III. Marketing of the Cloth and the Handloom Sector.........................................................22 - 27IV. Weavers’ Welfare Policies in Handloom Sector.......................................................... 28 - 32V. Policy Spaces for the Vulnerable Sections in the Context of Liberalization.................33 - 36 Appendix: Policy Suggestions/Recommendations.............................................................37 - 39  Handloom Sector and Policies: An Overview K Srinivasulu The significance of the handloom sector in India lies in the fact that it is a major employernext only to agriculture. The dependence of 16 million weavers on this sector in the country isa clear evidence of its importance in terms of livelihood. The contribution of this sector tototal cloth production in the country has been around 22 percent.The State of Andhra Pradesh, following Tamil Nadu, has the second largest concentration of handlooms in the country. There are estimated to be around 1,71,660 handloom weavingfamilies and 2,13,404 working handlooms in the State. 1  Handloom industry in the State ischaracterized by variation and differentiation reflecting the social and cultural diversity andcomplexity in the State. This can be seen in the use of yarn type and count, and type of loom,the product specificity and the specific markets for which they are produced, etc. While thecotton weaving is the dominant practice, we also find silk and wool weaving in certain centres.The product range is amazingly varied in terms of design and colour, quality and quantity,demand and price, brand name and clientele. The variation could be captured from the factthat while at the lower end coarse lungis, dhotis and sarees in low counts are produced by amajority of weavers in a large number of handloom centers, at the higher end could be seenexpensive handloom center- specific silk and cotton brands with their unique designs andexclusive clientele; in between we have a wide range of moderately priced cotton and silk varieties that cater to the middle class clientele. The proportion of export varieties in this isnot insignificant. Organisational Structure On the basis of the organisational structure and the relations of production, the handloomindustry can be divided into the following sectors: i) independent weave, ii) co-operative, andiii) master-weaver sectors. i) Independent weavers: Independent weavers are those who produce cloth on their own, that is, they own the instrumentsof production, purchase raw materials from market and produce fabric with family labour andsell the products in the local market or to traders. The stiff competition from the powerlomsand the rising prices of cotton hank yarn and dyes has been quite drastic on these weavers. ii)   Co-operative sector: 1  This is according to the Census of Handlooms in India, 1987-88  , conducted by the National Council forApplied Economic Research (NCAER), New Delhi. Though another Census was carried out in the mid-1990s but the results of this operation have not been available.
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