Union Textiles Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar on Friday inaugurated a 45-day-long skill upgradation training programme for Scheduled Caste handloom weavers in Bargarh district.The Minister also gave away certificates to students of the first handloom entrepreneur training course.Sixty handloom entrepreneurs have completed training in Indian Institutes of Handloom Technology at Bargarh, Varanasi and Salem.The minister also handed over the sanction letters to handloom weavers under Pradhan Mantri Weaver MUDRA Scheme. He also visited an exhibition of exquisite Ikat handloom products prepared by awardees and producers registered under the India Handloom Brand.Gangwar said that the central government is implementing several new initiatives which are aimed at raising earnings of handloom weavers to Rs 500 per day.
He also said that the government is giving special priority to handloom weavers belonging to Scheduled Castes.The minister added that the Ministry of Textiles has requested state governments to send projects of blocks that have concentration of SC weavers, on priority.Bargarh area of Odisha has a large cluster of handloom weavers and is famous for tie and dye Ikat weaves. It has produced a large number of national award winners.A block-level cluster project is the new approach adopted by the government for comprehensive development of handloom weavers. Under this, a project can avail assistance of up to Rs 2 crore for activities such as skill upgradation, loom upgradation, work sheds, professional assistance from a designer, common facility centre, dye house and a raw material depot, said a release.The government has sanctioned 228 such projects in the last one year, 19 of which are in Odisha. Handloom weavers receive a wage of Rs 210 per day from the government during the training period, it added.