THE wind has started blowing favourably for the local handloom fabrics. Many weavers who had so far been idle for want of buyers have now got a better client base and are able to develop their artisans' modern and skill aesthetic sense. A number of boutique and fashion houses have successfully involved the weavers throughout the country and engaged the rural entrepreneurs in this sector. This has partly succeeded in relieving the weavers of their woes and anxieties.
But many believe that the trend that so far been created with limited efforts now needs to be developed further. According to them, the demand for handloom products can have a solid and expanding base, only through effective policy and institutional supports. The country has still a severe shortage of creative, textile designers. The supplies of some raw materials are not also adequate to support the handloom industry. Mostly boutique houses which constitute now an important player in the sector are at the nascent stage of growth. As such, it is not possible on their part to invest in supportive operations for development of design and products in accordance with the changing demand pattern in the market.
So, the government must pay attention to the needs of this sector. 35 per cent of the country's existing handlooms are lying inoperative. Out of the nearly 500,000 handlooms, about 200,000 are not in operation, mainly because of funding constraints. Even the handlooms that are in operation face the problems of working capital and design development matching the needs of the market. Some specialised institutions are extending credits to the handloom industry. But the amount of such credits that are made so available is meagre to meet the needs of the entire sector. Hence, the problems of the sector call for early remedial measures for its revival and sustained growth.