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After losing male workers to migration & NREGS,carpet industry eyes women

Having lost around 50 per cent male weavers to migration and schemes such as MGNREGS,the carpet industry in Bhadohi and surrounding areas now wants women to be trained as weavers.

Written by Prashant Pandey | Allahabad |
August 19, 2011 4:07:38 am

Having lost around 50 per cent male weavers to migration and schemes such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS),the carpet industry in Bhadohi and surrounding areas now wants women to be trained as weavers.

“Women weavers are more likely to stay put at homes,whether they are married or unmarried. So training them would be good investment,” said secretary All-India Carpet Manufacturers Association,Abdul Hazi.

The industry is increasingly facing a serious shortage of skilled weavers over the last five years. The impact has been such that even after being granted the geographical identification (GI) tag in September,2010,the industry has not been able to reap its benefits. According to one estimate,the shortfall is around 40 to 60 per cent.

“We have been raising the demand for training women in the age group of 18 to 50 for a long time at various fora. But the government,though agreeing that it is a concept worth implementing,is yet to respond,” said Rajni Kant Dwivedi,director of Human Welfare Association,which was instrumental in getting the GI tag registered.

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Dwivedi said the GI certification for Bhadohi carpet was awarded for carpet-related works in Bhadohi,Mirzapur,Chandauli,Sonbhadra,Varanasi,Jaunpur,Kaushambi,Ghazipur and Allahabad. “In all these districts,an estimated 2 lakh potential women weavers can be trained,” he said.

In a memorandum sent to the Ministry of Textiles on on August 7,Dwivedi has demanded that various GI facilitation centres should be set up across the entire stretch to help people register their products under the GI tag and reap the benefits.

In the first couple of months after granting of GI certification,there was an increase in demand from global markets,primarily Europe. However,with the government not coming up with initiatives that could have tapped the market potential,the industry,which is almost 100 per cent export-oriented,again slumped.

A major reason for the same is lack of skilled weavers. While old skilled labourers are retiring,the young are getting drawn to schemes like MGNREGS.

H S Gupta,Development Commissioner (Handicrafts),which comes under the Ministry of Textiles,told this newspaper over phone that a scheme has been envisaged for training of skilled workers. “The Comprehensive Handicraft (Carpet) Cluster Development Scheme entails training of nearly 20,000 workers in five years. This will include women weavers,” said Gupta.

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