Production and marketing of handloom products in Chittoor district
Dr. R Rajendra Naidu
India has the world’s largest number of handloom weavers and an extremely rich heritage of handloom products. Until only a few decades ago, we also had the most diverse cotton varieties, providing the most suitable raw material for handloom weaving. The Handloom sector plays a very important role in the country’s economy. It is one of the largest economic activities providing direct employment to over 65 lakhs persons engaged in weaving and allied activities. As a result of effective Government intervention through financial assistance and implementation of various developmental and welfare schemes, this sector has been able to withstand competition from the power loom and mill sectors. This sector contributes nearly 19% of the total cloth produced in the country and also adds substantially to export earnings. Handloom is unparalleled in its flexibility and versatility, permitting experimentation and encouraging innovations. The strength of Handloom lies in the introducing innovative designs, which cannot be replicated by the Power loom sector. Thus, Handloom forms a part of the heritage of India and exemplifies the richness and diversity of our country and the artistry of the weavers. Despite such obvious and impressive strengths, India has not been able to ensure sustainable and satisfactory livelihoods for handloom weavers. The grim reality today is that an overwhelming majority of handloom weavers are living in poverty, while many others have left the occupation based on intricate skills to toil as construction workers and rickshaw pullers. This paper discusses the status of production of handloom products in Chittoor dist of Andhra Pradesh.