NNN | Shillong, July 20: The Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Centre for Policy Research & Analysis under the aegis of IIM Shillong on Monday hosted an e-symposium on Handloom Sector under the e-Symposia Series on Emergent North East India: Strategic and Developmental Imperatives.
Chairman of the Board of Governors, IIM Shillong Shishir Bajoria while welcoming the participants said, “The series of e-symposia has been conceived, covering areas of special importance to the entire northeast. The beautiful products weaved out of the handlooms here leave a very clear sign of the beauty of the region.”
Union Minister of Textiles and Women & Child Development Smriti Zubin Irani said the handloom legacy of the country has been “romanticised with the element of poverty.”
She said that from the marketing perspective the country needs to reposition and look at the larger consumption market. “Today when sustainability has become the buzzword not only for manufacturers, buying agents, and international chains that can leverage the handloom opportunity, there has to be a more systemic approach on how to make handlooms a better business opportunity given the semblance of pride in the handloom legacy of our country, particularly the northeast, while also trying to understand the issues that ail this particular sector that we are today talking about,” she said.
Some of the points brought forward by her for consideration was the necessity to encourage weavers to actually have a business plan and a pathway to success, which means looking at input costs, access to better credit, access to better design opportunities, understanding of IPR and packaging, which also entails how positioning and branding of raw material can differ from one segment to the other.
She further added, “Instead of looking at a minute segment which we see to service, we need to look at a product range for a larger consumer base,” while emphasizing on not looking only at exports but also servicing India which is one of the largest global consuming markets of the world.
Director of IIM Shillong, Prof D P Goyal while expressing his thoughts said, “Sincere thanks goes to the nameless weavers of NE India who have not only been the ambassadors of the culture and heritage of the region but also its true custodian, who for hundreds of years have carried the knowledge of handloom by practicing and passing it on to the next generation.”
A technical session was also organized on The Handloom Sector: Energizing the potential catalyst for growth and development.
Prof Keya Sengupta, Centre Coordinator, said, “We hope that the policies that shall be drafted for the handloom sector will help us to achieve the policy goal of Look East & Act East envisioned by our Prime Minister, and make the sector commercially viable.”
Member of the Board of Governors, Atul Kulkarni while moderating the session opined, “The handloom sector is one which is caught between subjective perception and objective reality. It is an activity which is in deep crises with low productivity, low wages, low literacy level, with firmly entrenched middlemen system and very little formal finance arrangements.”
The entire conduct of the e-symposium was streamed live through facebook and twitter handles of the Institute.