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DEPARTMENT NO. 14:-

WEAVERS WELFARE

The predicament of the Handloom weaver in Andhra Pradesh was manifold. As the lobbies of the power loom sector took over his livelihood, the official patronization also dwindled gradually leading him to the dire straits of suicides. The steep hike in prices of yarn and dyes added to his misery and drove him to starvation and his women to flesh trade for the sake of feeding  two morsels  to their children.

That was the state of affairs of weavers in the TDP regime wherein nearly 189 handloom weavers committed suicides till 2004. “It was sad that the rural artisans like handloom weavers had no place in the growth module of Andhra Pradesh”  said the chief minister  Dr.Y.S.Rajasekhara Reddy who directed the officials to workout a  master plan for promotion of handloom and also give relief to the weavers revive their economies.

Early March ,2008 he chief minister took a momentous decision to facilitate the handloom weavers with PAVALA VADDI loans at just   three percent interest loans. Government will implement Pavala Vaddi Scheme to nearly 2.60 lakh weavers covered under the  Weavers Co-Op Societies  and also those outside it   at a cost of  Rs  20.16 crore.
          Other  salient steps  take by  AP government were :

  • Health Insurance to   1,50,000 weavers with premium of  Rs.89.13  per  weaver
  • Ten percent  subsidy on purchase of yarn & Dyes & chemicals  by primary weavers  coops.

The state government has plans to extend the PAVALA VADDI and Health Insurance schemes for the weavers during 2008-09 a sum of Rs.16.09 crore is provided  in the  budget towards the PAVALA VADDI for the  weavers.

It has provided a financial assistance of Rs.34.40 crore in budget train and provide infrastructure support for the handloom sector

Government will implement handloom cluster scheme across the State covering 27 handloom clusters. This scheme will cover modernization of handlooms, construction of common work-sheds, training to improve the skills.

The AP government has given priority for the promotion of handloom sector and arrest the trend of suicides and starvation among them. It has increased the budget by four times the amount during the TDP period.

2003-04 (TDP)                        :        Rs.39.70 crores
2004-05 (Cong)                      :        Rs.50.65 crores
2005-06 (Cong)                      :        Rs.76.80 crores
2006-07 (Cong)                      :         Rs.99.50 crores
2007-08 (Cong)                      :        Rs.151.00 crores

The YSR government began a systematic assessment of the problems of the handloom weavers in several affected districts of Karimnagar, Prakasam, Anantapur, Nellore, Mahbubnagar and Vizianagaram and it was a relevation that   in spite of producing an exotic array of handloom fabrics, lack of marketing and timely funding had been driving the weavers to throes of suicides and starvation.

The survey revealed that the handloom weavers of AP had integrated the traditional techniques and designs to modern  tastes and utilities .The breath taking colors  of Venkatagiri, Gadwal, Pochampally, Dharmavaram and Uppada  saris and deft  hand woven techniques were in  great demand in not only all over India but  also abroad. Besides saris, AP also was at the forefront in production of home furnishings in the tie and dye designs which has even been patented by the weavers of Pochampally. The product range included woven textural designs, carpets, dress material, durries, dhotis, mats and other home furnishings.

In Andhra Pradesh, as per identity cards issued there are 2,46,506 Handloom/Silk/Wool Weavers both within and outside the Cooperative Fold. Out of this about 135,685 are organized into 1238 Handloom Weavers Coop. Societies. There are about 50,000 Power looms both in Cooperative and outside cooperative fold.

There are about 50,000 Powerlooms both in Cooperative and outside cooperative sector, mostly concentrated in Chittoor, Ananthapur, Kadapa, Kurnool, Karimnagar, Nalgonda, Warangal and Ranga Reddy District.

BIRDS’S VIEW OF THE HANDLOOM SECTOR IN AP
No. of Handloom Weaver Cooperative Societies (PWCS):-   1238
(Including 86 newly registered societies, Silk and
other type of societies.)

No. of Working Handloom Weaver Cooperative Societies
including newly registered (86)                                              898   
No. of Weavers Coop. Societies dormant                       -        340
No. of Handloom Weavers in Cooperative Fold                  1,35,685
No. of Handloom Weavers outside Cooperative Fold           1,10,821
No. of Apex Societies                                                            4
[1. APCO  2. APTEX (liquidated) 3. SPINFED (Liquidated)
4. Complex Society]
No. of Regional Offices                                     -                               4
No. of District Offices                                                             18

The AP government focused on promotion of marketing avenues for the handloom sector to provide the weavers remunerative prices for their products. The marketing initiatives of the State Government included resources pooled for the handloom sector.

Sl No

Year

Amount (Rs in lakhs)

No of agencies

1

2005-06

809.38

320

2

2006-07

604.50

340

   3

2007-08

604.50

340

 

Total

2018.38

 

 
The AP government underscored the need for training and improvisation of skills of weavers to make them attuned to the present trends of fabrics market. To upgrade the skills and prepare the weavers to produce fabrics of designs and shades, products diversifications per the requirement of the market the government allocated special funds as well.

Sl NO

Year

Amount (Rs in lakhs)

No of projects

1

2004-05

19.81

11

1

2005-06

8.04

29

2

2006-07

101.78

55

3

2007-08

86.30

85

 

Total

215.93

 

Very recently the dynamic chief minister Dr.Y.S.Rajasekhara Reddy has announced the extension of PAVALA VADDI scheme to the handloom weavers also.

The government has already been providing cheap credit and a interest rebate / subsidy of three percent for the handloom weavers since 2004.
The following are the particulars of assistance released to the societies under the scheme.                                                        


Sl.No.

Year

Amount of assistance sanctioned under the scheme.    (Rs. in lakhs)

No. of societies benefited.

1

2004-05

280.00

434

2

2005-06

300.00

434

3

2006-07

904.26

393

Total

1484.26

 

Under the scheme, an amount of Rs. 1273.00 lakhs has been provided in the B.Es for the year 2007-08.

Artisan credit scheme:

The Artisan Credit Card scheme aims at providing adequate and timely finance from the Banking institutions to the artisans to meet their credit requirements both investment needs as well as working capital in a flexible and cost effective manner. The scheme has been successfully implemented in the state from the day the congress party took over in Andhra Pradesh.

Year

Target

Achievement

Financial assistance            (Rs. in crores)

2004-05

30,000

13453

22.91

2005-06

30,000

15456

26.38

2006-07

20,000

9356

16.21

Total

80,000

38265

65.50

  • The target for the year 2007-08 is 20,000 Artisan Credit Cards. Out of which 1958 ACCs have been issued with financial flow of Rs.291.58 lakhs upto 30.09.2007.

The YSR government launched various initiatives to not only lift the weavers from the throes of starvation and suicidal tendencies but also become partners in the development promo of Harita Andhrapradesh. The salient features of the welfare measures launched since 2004 were as below.

  • Government provided compensation at the rate of Rs.1.5 lakhs to families of 238 weavers in power loom sector and 189 handloom weavers who committed suicide between 1997-2007 in the state.
  • The state government issued a blanket order for purchase of handloom fabrics   by all state government departments and also the Tirumala Tirupati Dewasthanams.
  • Government granted 50 percent subsidy for the private investors at Siricilla Textile park to induce handloom weavers to state of art technology in weaving.
  • The handloom products were exempted from VAT with effect from April,2005.
  • Rs.50 crore pending payment of the State run APCO was also cleared by the Government in one go.
  • Five Apparel Parks, 12 Textiles parks under execution in the state to promote infrastructure for the investors in handloom industry.
  • Textile majors like Gokuldas Exports, Gokuldas Images, Oriental Craft, Shahi Exports, Texport Syndicate, Orient Clothing, SIMA from various parts of the country were invited to setup their manufacturing facilities in the state.
  • Two international companies Brandix and Mas Holdings  from Sri Lanka invited to set up  shop in AP. Attracted Rs.17.61 crore in investment by Brandix India at the  Apparel-city SEZ in Achutapuram .
  • Govt plans to generate 1.50 lakh jobs in textile sector by 2010.
  • 50,000 old age pensions given to all fifty year old weavers.
  • Eleven Projects for weavers with investment of Rs.3743 had provided jobs to 21,07,400 persons.
  • 4000 physically challenged weavers given 25 kgs of free rice under the AAY scheme.
  • Chenetha Bazaars to be set up in  Karimnagar, Srikakulam, Khammam, Prakasam, Kurnool, Rajahmundry, Guntur, Mahbubnagar districts to get a remunerative price for weaver’s  products.
  • Plans for setting up 12 handloom clusters in the state to help weavers to reduce quality cloth and market them profitably.
  • Twelve Samisthi Chenetha Vikraya Kendra being set up for group participation in marketing at important locations in the state on a daily basis.
  • 4460 handloom weavers were given training in diverse range of quality products, managerial, technical and marketing skills under the Integrated Handloom Training Project.
  •  It is proposed to organize 1270 Groups and to provide Rs.2356.75 lakhs to the Groups. So far 721Groups were formed and 5 Groups were assisted with a loan of Rs.3.75 lakhs. 
  •  Ex-gratia has been sanctioned to 195 death cases so far. Further Government have sanctioned assistance @ Rs.25,000/- each to the 114 rejected suicidal cases as a special case.
  • State Level Prizes i.e., 1st Prize of Rs.50,000, 2nd prize of Rs.25,000/- and 3rd prize of Rs.15,000/- have been distributed to the (3) selected  societies in the State  for the year 2005-06. Government have accorded sanction to implement the scheme with a total outlay of Rs.90,000/-  for the year 2006-07.
  • Pchampally Ikkat was registered under the Geographical Indication (GI) Act on 31.12.2004.
  • The NABARD has sanctioned an amount of Rs.4.50 lakhs as a grant of assistance for G.I registration of Gadwal Saree, Uppada Jamdhani fabrics and Dharmavaram Silk sarees. Further action is in progress.

With a view to promote the transition of the handloom weavers to Powerloom the AP government introduced POWER TARIFF CONCESSION TO POWERLOOM WEAVERS.

  • With a view to provide relief to Powerloom units, which are facing crisis on account of increase in power tariffs. Government have reduced the power tariff for the powerloom weavers by 50% i.e., from Rs.1.74 to Rs. 0.87 paise per unit. 
  • Government have sanctioned and released an amount of Rs. 1850.00 lakhs to APTRANSCO towards reimbursement of power tariff concession to the Powerloom units from the year 2001-02 to 2006-07.
  • Every year approximately 20,000 unit holders are benefited.
  • During the year 2007-08 an amount of Rs. 600.00 lakhs has been provided in the Budget. 
  • Govt. have sanctioned an amount of Rs. 1,11,31,331/- towards Power Subsidy quarterly advance for 3 months from 1.4.2007 to 30.6.2007 to recoup revenue loss to the APTRANSCO for current Financial Year 2007-2008. 
  • Govt. have sanctioned an amount of Rs.150.00 lakhs towards Power Subsidy quarterly advance for 3 months from 1.6.2007 to 30-9.2007 to recoup revenue loss to the APTRANSCO for current Financial Year 2007-2008. 
  • During the year 2005-06 (925) exclusively women weavers SHGs have been newly formed with a view to avail concessional rate of interest @ 3%. 
  • The Government vide G.O.Rt.No.14, dt:8-1-2007, Youth Advancement Tourism Culture department have sanctioned a project with a  total outlay of Rs.6.00 lakhs for setting up of a live demonstration center for displaying weaving techniques and  the other processes involved in the handloom production and for establishment of photo exhibition  including handloom library at Tourism Centre  Bhoodan Pochampally, Nalgonda District.
  • 30,000 Old Age Pensions are allocated exclusively for weavers in the Sate.
  • Government have also accorded sanction of additional 50,000 old age pensions for the year 2005-06 The age of Weaver Pensioner is reduced from 65 to 50 years, as a special case because of crippling effect in weaving profession.
  • The Old Age Pensions to Weavers being disbursed now @ Rs.100/- per month have been enhanced to Rs.200/- with effect from 1-4-2006 vide G.O.Ms.No.89, PR & RD (RD-II) Dept.29-3-2006. 
  • The Government of India has identified two clusters i.e. Madhavaram in Kadapa and Chirala in Prakasham District with a total outlay of Rs.2.00 crores per cluster under Integrated Handloom Cluster Development Scheme.
  • Apart from the above National Handloom Expo has also been conducted at Hyderabad during the year   2004 and 2005 and sales worth Rs. 6.28 crores and Rs. 4.03 crores were effected respectively.
  • It is proposed to conduct (50) District level exhibitions / Special handloom Expos during the 2007-08.So far (18) District Level Exhibitions have been conducted and sales worth of Rs.763.83 lakhs has been effected.
  • 15,000 Workshed-cum-Houses have been sanctioned to Handloom Weavers.
  • APCO turnover has increased from Rs.87 crores in 2003-04 to Rs.137 crores in 2006-07. 
  • Ex-gratia @ Rs.1.50 lakh per family in respect of 208 suicidal cases has been sanctioned on par with farmers.
  • Another 114 cases not covered under any norms have been assisted @ Rs.25,000/- per family from C.M. Relief Fund.
  • Handloom Products were exempted from VAT with effect from April, 2005.
  • For the first time in the country, Government has taken an initiative and brought up a Textile and Apparel Policy 2005-10 with an aim to generate 1.5 lakh jobs.
  • As a result, Textile majors like Gokuldas Exports, Gokuldas Images, Orient Craft, Shjahi Exports, Texport Syndicate, Orient Clothing, are setting up their units in our State.
  • Over 70 new spinning mills are coming in the State specially in the Cotton growing areas like Guntur and Prakasam etc.,
  • Two international companies Brandix and MAS Holdings from Sri Lanka are setting up garment clusters in our State which will generate over 75,000 jobs in the next few years.
  • 40,870 weavers have been assisted under the Artisan Credit Card Scheme with a credit flow of Rs.70.00 crores.
  • 5768 weavers have been assisted under PMRY scheme with financial assistance of Rs.26.00 crores.
  • 3410 weavers have been assisted under Rajiv Yuva Shakti Scheme with a financial assistance of Rs.15 crores.
  • 94,240 weavers have been enrolled under Mahatma Gandhi Bunker Bhima Yojana.
  • 65,830 handloom weavers have been covered under Health Insurance Scheme.
  • For 4000 crippled weavers, free distribution of 25 Kgs of rice per month under Antyodaya Anna Yojana Scheme.

 
During  2005-06  the  AP government sanctioned  15,000 houses  for the  weavers  under  the  Weavers Housing  at a unit cost of Rs.40,000  only. The housing scheme was aimed at providing a good working atmosphere and also improve their productivity.

Under the Mahatma Gandhi Bunkar Bima Yojana, nearly one lakh weavers are covered for accident losses, of which 1387 deaths were compensated as of date with a allocation of Rs.571.75 lakh. The scheme also provide for scholarships to the children of weavers studying in 9th and tenth classes. 

In yet another health insurance scheme in collaboration with the ICICI Lombard General insurance scheme company 57,000 weaves were covered in the state,

Nearly 39,000 weavers were also covered under Artisan Credit Card scheme with a credit flow of Rs.67.29 crore for purchase of yarn and dyes and also to meet the contingency needs. Under the Prime Minister Rozgar Yojana, Rs.23 crore was provided for nearly 5168 educated unemployed youth of weavers community to setting up new units in collaboration with the Escorts services and APITCO.

Under the Deendayal Hathkarrdah yojana the AP government had sanctioned 181 projects at a cost of Rs.48 crore to nearly 339 Primary handloom weavers cooperative societies.

The YSR government has set awards for the good working weavers societies and craft persons at the primary society level and has disbursed Rs.5.lakhs during 2005-06.

During the current year nearly 53 handloom exhibitions and Handloom Expos were held at district levels and also five exhibitions were held in neighboring states of Karnataka, Orissa, Maharashtra and Tamilnadu. The government has reimbursed the cost of participation in national level events also to the tune of Rs. 20 lakhs during 2006-07 to the weavers organizations.

Conclusion:

The chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy has revived the rural economy to benefit the weavers, sell their products at the local level itself.

“As part of the INDIRAMMA  project  the  government  aims  to benefit the  rural artisans  like  weavers  with housing, marketing  and training   infrastructure”  says the chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy .

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