Thursday, November 9, 2017

Loan waiver to handloom and power loom weavers : Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao

Loan waiver to hand-loom and power-loom weavers
Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao

          Handloom and Power Loom Sector is an important Sector both in terms of employment and economic contribution in Rural areas of Telangana state. There are 16,879 working Handlooms and 49,112 power looms in the State. Due to negligence by the erstwhile Governments, the industry suffered with number of problems such as inadequate raw material supply, stiff competition from the Mill Sector, improper marketing facilities, obsolete technology etc. Realising these problems, the Chief Minister KCR decided to find a solution leading to several rounds of discussions with Experts in the field, Leaders, NGOs and Officials.

After lengthy deliberations, the Government felt the necessity of uplifting this Sector through adequate budgetary support and interventions. Huge budgetary provisions were made to both Handlooms and Power Looms Sector, which was never made earlier by any Government. The main object of making this allocation is to uplift the industry from outdated technology, safeguard the sectors providing sustainable employment, development and welfare to the weavers, marketing facility, brand promotion to the products and to provide alternate source of livelihood to those who are unable to eke out livelihood from this sector. 

Under the existing Co-operative Thrift Fund scheme for Handloom weavers which was intended only for Weavers working in Co-operative Sector, weaver contributes 8% of his wage and an equal amount of 8% is contributed by the State Government. The Government has decided to extend the scheme to all the Weavers in the State both in Co-operative fold and Out-side Co-operative fold, including Ancillary workers (Like Wrappers, Winders, Dyers, Designers etc), who are connected with Handloom weaving and the Government has enhanced its share from 8% to 16%and an amount of Rs. 60.00 crores allocated and released in this regard.

Further, the Government for the first time decided to extend the benefit of Thrift Fund Scheme to Power Loom workers also. Under this scheme, the Power Loom worker will contribute 8% of his wage and an equal amount of 8% will be contributed by the State Government. This will benefit 10,000 power Loom workers in the State.

The 20% subsidy scheme of state Government on Cotton yarn to the Cooperative sector only as well as 10% subsidy on purchase of Cotton / Silk / Wool / Dyes & Chemicals to Individual Weavers and Co-operative Societies by the Government of India is revised. Government of Telangana has created a wage compensation linked input subsidy scheme on purchase of all types of yarn including Cotton / Silk / Wool / Dyes and Chemicals duly enhancing from 20% to 40%, in addition to 10% of Government of India subsidy. Further this subsidy can be availed by all the weavers both by the cooperative sector and outside the fold. By this scheme it is intended that the handloom weavers and ancillary workers will benefit by way of additional wages of 35% of the yarn subsidy amount and 5% will be given to the indenting weavers / society/ unit. The benefit will be directly transferred to the weavers. Further, the Government also extended 10% Yarn Subsidy to Power Loom sector on procurement of cloth on Government orders.

The system of procuring general / uniform items from the Handloom Weavers Co-operative Societies worth of Rs. 50.00 crores are also revived as the buyback process. In this TSCO places orders to all looms where there is no private market by improving product diversification and design, value addition and brand promotion. Further, the Government also procures the cloth required for School Uniforms, Welfare Departments and for distribution of Bathukamma Sarees.

In Telangana, eight block level clusters are being implemented at Aler, Kamalapur, Velture, Armor, Shayampet, Kanukula, Bhoodan Pochampalli and Vemulawada for the benefit of 2,602 weavers.  Under this scheme, training will be imparted in weaving, designing and dyeing; new looms would be provided, and dye house and common facility centre would be set-up. A Handloom Park at Gadwal for which consultation with local weavers and preparation of detailed DPR is under process will come-up.

Chief Minister KCR has laid foundation stones for Group Work shed and Apparel Park at Siricilla. Under the Group Work shed Scheme, Sheds will be constructed by the Government free of cost and four Power Looms @ Rs. 2.00 lakhs will be provided to each worker with 50% subsidy, beneficiary-20% and Bank Loan-30%. Detailed Project Report (DPR) is under preparation. Besides it was also proposed to upgrade all the obsolete Power Looms and set up a Common Facility Centre through Plug and Play model with Texturizing, Sizing, Warping, Dyeing, Calendaring and other facilities.

The Government have proposed to setup an Integrated Textile Value Chain (from Fibre-to-Fashion) “Kakatiya Mega Textile Park” in an extent of 1190 acres at Warangal. Chief Minister has laid the foundation stone on 22.10.2017. Twenty-Three Entrepreneurs from abroad and India have entered MoU with the Government of Telangana for setting up of Textile Units with approximate investment of Rs. 3,900 crores and generation of employment to 60,000 to 80,000 people.

Telangana has earmarked Rs.15.00 crores for Handloom Weavers Loan Waiver Scheme.
Government has initiated steps for the promotion of the socio-economic wellbeing of Handloom Weavers, by implementing various Welfare and Developmental scheme. The steps taken by the Government bailed out the Weavers from the debt trap and indebtedness to some extent. In view of the competition for the market, the goods produced by the weavers could not be sold at reasonable prices, resulting in low level of income and wages to the Weavers. As a result, the Weavers could not repay the loans taken from Banks and became defaulters. One of the major problems affecting the Development of the Handloom Sector is the lack of working capital and inability to repay the working capital loans, due to marketing distress. Keeping in view the plight of the Weavers, a scheme is evolved with an objective to relieve Weavers from the indebtedness, so as to enable them to obtain fresh working capital from Banks to eke out their livelihood and bring the Weaver from out of the clutches of indebtedness. 

The Telangana Government issued orders to provide relief to all such distressed Individual Weavers by extending a Loan Waiver scheme to benefit the maximum Individual Weavers. The loans taken by Handloom weavers from Nationalised Banks and District Cooperative Central Banks (DCCBs) as Working Capital for production of Handloom products between 1.1.2014 to 31.03.2017 up to Rupees One lakh have been considered for waiver by the Government.

As per the information furnished by the State Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC), 2467 Hand Loom weavers would be set debt-free through Loan Waiver Scheme. They will be eligible for fresh loans.

(Source Minister KTR Statement in Assembly on 09-11-2017)

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