The Government of India and textile industry players have entered into agreements enabling the textile firms to directly source their requirements for handlooms from handloom clusters.
The strategic partnership is aimed at establishing long-term market linkages between key industry players on the one hand and handloom weavers on the other; this will ensure sustainable development of the sector, resulting also in sustainable and enhanced income opportunities for weavers.
The MoUs were signed at Aritsan Speak, a unique event organized by the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, at the UNESCO World Heritage site Elephanta Caves near Mumbai.
The event has been held to showcase the GI Textiles of India, through a confluence of fashion, music and dance. The Union Minister for Textiles, Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani; Secretary, Textiles, Shri Raghvendra Singh and other officials from the Ministry were present on the occasion. Former Indian cricketer Shri Sachin Tendulkar was present, on behalf of Arvind True Blue Limited.
Addressing the gathering, the Textiles Minister, Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani said: “The Textiles Secretary has been speaking about the need to explore synergy between our culture and our textiles. We are now standing at a site where 2000 years ago, people built something without the aid of technology, something which depicts pure passion and love for craft. The statues in Cave I depict creases of the cloth that someone then presumed a deity would wear. That is the culture and history that we celebrate today. I am grateful to Shri Sachin Tendulkar for partnering with weavers and the textile legacy of our country, as he begins a new chapter. Instead of profiting alone, he has chosen to share the profit with the community that has built the craft legacy of our country.”
The Minister spoke of the MoUs signed today. She said that in Kumbh Mela, Goenka Group made something disposable using technical textiles so that even the poorest of the poor can use it. This reflects the diversity and capacity of our country, she said. “Grateful to designers for measuring up and for sharing the stage with weavers who have been celebrated but often forgotten, and for letting their light shine. Thanks to Union Culture Minister Dr. Mahesh Sharma and to ASI which has opened its caves and hearts for us.“
“India is very diverse, with huge variations in the clothing, food habits and language of its people. Despite this, one of the few things which have kept us together is our craftsmanship; our weavers have been able to restore our tradition, creativity and skill which we have always been known for. The weavers have been facing a lot of challenges due to introduction of fancy new machineries”, said Sachin Tendulkar. He continued, “India might be the only country where handmade articles are way cheaper, while in other countries it is way costlier. The reason for this, I think is that handmade articles are made from the heart; this makes us recipients of the blessings of weavers. Coming to partnership, this is a great one. We have 4.3 million people involved in the sector, second largest to agriculture. The partnerships will help us set standards globally.”
The following textiles companies signed agreements with the Office of Development Commissioner (Handlooms), Ministry of Textiles on the occasion:
- Arvind True Blue Limited (Shri Kulin Lalbhai, Executive Director)
- Raymond Ltd. (Shri Gaurav Mahajan, President – Group Apparels)
- Welspun India Limited (Shri Anil Channa, Executive Director (Operations))
- Titan Co. Ltd. (Shri Ajoy Chawla, Sr. Vice President)
- Reliance Retail Limited (Shri Akhilesh Prasad, President & Chief Executive)
This will also result in better price realization and improved market understanding for weavers. The historic occasion will mark a new beginning of major commitments by the private sector towards the development of India’s handlooms.
The occasion was also marked by a grand showcase India’s rich textile tradition, through a curated cultural show, with participation of leading designers. The presentation by established and emerging designers along with artisans was based on GI (Geographical Indication) textiles, drawn from various regions across India. The show brought to light the potential of GI textiles, so as to promote and build awareness of such products and to strengthen skills and supply chain capacity of grassroots stakeholders.
The following designers and artisans participated in the presentation:
- Designer Rahul Mishra showcasing Chikankari
- Designer Payal Khandwala showcasing Banarasi brocades
- Master-weaver Shantilal Bhangade showcasing Paithani
- Designer Gaurang showcasing Kancheepuram silks
- Ushadevi Balakrishnan from Kerala presenting Balaramapuram sarees through Anka
- Designer Karishma Shahani Khan showcasing Kota Doria/Chanderi textiles
- Designer Meera Muzaffar Ali showcasing Chikankari
- Designer Padmaja showcasing Maheshwari textiles
- Artisan Rajib Debnath (Burdwan) showcasing Jamdani sarees
- Designer Abraham & Thakore showcasing hand-block prints on handloom cotton
A cultural programme comprising music and dance performances was also held on the occasion.
The first-of-its-kind event at Elephanta Caves was organized by the Ministry of Textiles, in partnership with IMG Reliance.