Dwivedi discusses action plan to revive carpet sector in J&K

To overcome the stiff challenges confronting the carpet industry in Jammu and Kashmir, Commissioner Secretary, Industries & Commerce, Manoj Kumar Dwivedi, Friday chaired a meeting to discuss slew of measures to revive the sector, which remains the mainstay of exports to overseas destinations.

Special Secretary, I&C, M.M.R. Ghassi, Managing Director, J&K Handloom & Handicrafts Corporation, Hashmat Ali Yatoo, Director, Handicrafts & Handloom, Kashmir, Mussarat Islam, Director IICT, Zubair Ahmad, besides other senior officers attended the meeting. Emphasizing upon the promotion of traditional industries which have carved out a niche for itself in overseas markets, Secretary Industries spelt out a futuristic plan to revive the carpet sector, which remains the mainstay of craft products exported from Jammu & Kashmir. He asked Director Handicrafts and Handloom to submit a detailed proposal for implementation of the Yarn Supply Scheme for different types of raw material to registered carpet weavers. He also issued directions to Director IICT to work out a proposal for establishing at least two Raw Material Banks in carpet craft-concentrated areas, one in Central Kashmir and one in North Kashmir, which shall ensure sustained supply of quality of raw material.

Responding to the issue of replacing 10,000 old and worn out carpet looms, Mr. Dwivedi fixed a target of 2000 looms during the current financial year and issued directions to take up the matter with the Ministry of Textiles for considering the proposal under the relevant scheme. He also advised Director IICT to propose prototype of various carpet looms with technical support of experts, which shall ensure that knotted quality of the finished product is world class.

On the issue of immediate need of establishing a Yarn Dyeing House in IICT campus, Secretary Industries asked Director Handicrafts & Handloom to earmark requisite funds in the revised Capex Budget 2020-21. He also issued directions for expediting upgradation of existing lab in IICT for GI labeling for branding of silk carpets. Highlighting the need to provide a level playing field to craft exporters and entrepreneurs, Mr. Dwivedi laid emphasis upon their participation in virtual fairs in view of the pandemic and restrictions on holding of physical fairs. He also advised Director Handicrafts and Handloom to coordinate with EPCH and CEPC for handholding of carpet and craft exporters.

The craft entrepreneurs and exporters are slated to participate in two big virtual fairs being organized by the Ministry of Textiles later this month and in November. This shall provide an opportunity to the exporters to find online buyers to sell their finished products, which shall minimize the adverse impact of Covid-19 pandemic on exports. Taking cognizance of the need to expose carpet weavers to demand-driven products, Secretary Industries stressed upon design diversification and skill upgradation of weavers.

Director Handicrafts & Handloom briefed Secretary Industries on the need to bring the artisans and weavers within the ambit of Building Operations & Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, by proposing an amendment to Central Government in the Act. On this, the Secretary Industries said he will take up the matter with the Labour & Employment Department to come up with a similar scheme to provide social security net to the artisans and weavers in the form of life insurance, health incentive, academic scholarship and marriage assistance etc. On the issue of unsold inventories in craft sector, Secretary Industries issued standing instructions to MD, J&K Handloom & Handicrafts Corporation to explore the possibility of reserving certain craft-related items for Government procurement for Estates, Hospitality & Protocol and Tourism Departments.