Reviving Handloom Sector in Telangana: Now also a part of ISB’s Agenda

Aug 10, 2020

August 7 was chosen as National Handloom Day (in 2015) to commemorate the Swadeshi Movement which was launched on this day in 1905 and Hon’ble Prime Minister urges us to be #Vocal4Handmade and strengthen efforts towards an Aatmanirbhar Bharat. It is an important call and many of the State Governments rose to the occasion and organized virtual events.

Telangana is one of the important states in the handloom industry which has a rich cultural legacy attached to the handlooms and also happens to be the second largest sector after agriculture in terms of employment. There are about 17,069 working handlooms. The estimated weavers and ancillary workers dependent on the industry is about 40,000. There are 336 Handloom Weavers Cooperative Societies in the State consisting of 259 Cotton, 33 Silk and 44 Wool. The Pochampally Ikat, Gadwal, Narayanpet & Gollabama Sarees and Durries from Warangal are some renowned handloom products from the state. An apex society, TSCO, is in place for facilitating marketing of handloom creations within the State. Despite the efforts to provide inputs, market support and protect the welfare of weavers, the state-run schemes are yet to create an impact in bringing the weaving community out of distress and revive the handloom industry.

It is important to revive the sector for multiple reasons and for this reason Government of Telangana entered into Memorandum of Understanding with different organizations to strengthen the handloom sector in the State. One of the key MoU is with the Indian School of Business. Professor Ashwini Chhatre, ISB and Principal Secretary Shri Jayesh Ranjan exchanged the MoU in the presence of Hon'ble Minister Shri KT Rama Rao.

Through this MoU, ISB will provide recommendations to improve the effectiveness of schemes of Department of Handlooms and Textiles, Telangana and suggest measures for economic growth of weavers in Telangana. These are some of the projects being taken up under JumpStartIndia@ISB initiative, through which ISB will deploy faculty expertise along with student experience to generate solutions to the most pressing challenges before the country, with a focus on state-specific solutions. Under the initiative, students and faculty will work together in key areas identified in consultation with experts as priority challenges where ISB’s expertise is strongest and most relevant.

This is a result of a series of discussions and meeting the ISB team had with Smt. Sailaja Ramayiar, IAS, Director, Handlooms & Textiles, Government of Telangana. As part of these discussions a series of areas were identified to collaborate and work with the Handloom Department.

The objective is to help revive the handloom sector in Telangana and try to connect the critical dots through research and analytics. Under this MoU, ISB aims to study and examine and evaluate the implementation and performance of state-run policies for weaving communities in Telangana. The objective is to evaluate effectiveness, reach and relevance of the scheme and examine outcome and impact of the same. The study will assess the blind spots and analyse the issues in the existing schemes to be able to deliver sustainable outcomes. ISB would like to understand and propose optimizations to the complete lifecycle of the handloom sector, especially focusing on the renowned weaving arts of Telangana. The study will provide recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the schemes and suggest measures to build assured market, systematised production, product and design development and hence increase the net income of weavers.