The picture of the Indian handloom industry has rapidly changed during the last century. The urge to wear handloom was started by Mahatma Gandhi in an attempt to boycott Western clothes and fabric. Since then, the demand for handloom has increased manifold. Over the decades, the handloom industry has received increasing support from both the government and the private sector, thus easing the process of doing business in this industry. Gradual improvement in fabric quality and dynamic styles of wearing handloom products has also reignited interests among Indians and non-Indians in these products.
The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi recently urged people to purchase handloom and khadi products for their clothing needs. He focused on the underlying cause, which is the upliftment of poor people to bring prosperity to their homes. Addressing citizens regularly on his “Mann Ki Baat” program, Modi has called upon Indian citizens to help take the khadi revival forward.
The Khadi Ashram that had remained non-functional for years has now been re-ignited with a new hope to revive the industry and skill of the weavers.
The Textile Ministry of India with the motive of generating more employment opportunities is expecting the Finance Ministry to clear a 170 crores special package for the knitwear sector. According to a top textile minister, this will increase competition in the domestic market. As the textile industry is an employment-intensive sector, this will result in increased job opportunities for many.
The Textile Ministry is also moving towards the goal of creating one crore jobs in the apparel and textile industry within the next three years.
The Lakme Fashion Week that recently took place in January 2018 inaugurated Sustainable Fashion Day on the second day of the event, focusing on the action-oriented conversation in North-East India. Union Textile Minister, Smriti Irani, expressed her joy that the Lakme Fashion Week in collaboration with United Nations is standing for the wonderful art of textile in North-East India. Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/gpJIMNacfpI
Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, has emphasized that Microsoft's Artificial Intelligence (AI) based chatbot 'Ruuh' has begun to change the lives of Indian weavers. In his LinkedIn posting, Nadella said that 'Ruuh' can help handloom weavers in India residing in rural communities generate economic opportunities, by creating design patterns and colors for them. Creating new designs would help the handloom weavers to preserve their ancient art form and carry on their family business across generations.
These recent initiatives by the Textile Ministry and the private sector have revived and brightened the prospects of the handloom industry, paving their path of growth in the coming years.