30 per cent family members of weavers don’t go to school: Smriti Irani

New delhi: At least 30 per cent family members of weavers do not go to school and just one per cent of them complete graduation, Textiles Minister Smriti Irani said today.

Irani said in Lok Sabha that the Centre had recently conducted a study which found that at least 30 per cent family members of weavers in the country do not go to any school and only one per cent of them studied and completed graduation.

She said during Question Hour that the government has taken a number of steps for the welfare of weavers as well as their family members.

The Minister said the Development Commissioner for Handlooms under Ministry of Textiles has entered into two separate MoUs with the IGNOU and the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) on August 7, 2016 for providing education to handloom weavers and their children through open schooling and distance learning.

“IGNOU offers continuing education programmes and NIOS offers secondary and senior secondary level education.

The MoUs further provide for exploring new courses especially relevant to the aspirations of handloom weavers for career progression,” she said.

The Minister said all the willing handloom weavers and their children who fulfill the eligibility conditions of these institutions can avail the learning opportunities.

IGNOU has identified two academic programmes – Bachelor Prepatory Programme and Computer Literacy Programme. So far 6,175 students have been enrolled from weavers’ community in these programmes.”Rs 10 lakh has been sanctioned to NIOS for conducting the survey in connection with the designing of courses exclusively for handloom weavers and their children,” she said.

Irani said to promote the weaving industry and sharpen the traditional skills of the weavers, 288 block level clusters under the National Handloom Development Programme and the Comprehensive Handloom Cluster Development Scheme have been taken up during 2015-16 and 2016-17.

“Under Block Level Clusters various interventions such as skill upgradation, technology upgradation, setting up of Common Facility Centres, including Common Service Centres, engagement of textile designer-cum-marketing executive, construction of worksheds, appointment of Cluster Development Executives etc., are taken up,” she said.

Replying a supplementary, Irani said the central government will facilitate Tangaliya weavers in purchase of looms, by providing them an assistance amounting to 90 per cent of the price of looms.