Pashmina certification to discourage counterfeits; protect interests of artisans: Irani

The Indian Standard certification for Pashmina products released on Friday will discourage counterfeit or substandard products presently mislabeled and sold as genuine Pashmina in the market, Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani said.

The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) published Indian Standard for identification, marking and labelling of Pashmina products to certify its purity. The Standard was released in Leh on Friday, an official statement said.

In a message, Irani said the certification will help curb adulteration of Pashmina and also protect the interests of local artisans and nomads who are the producers of Pashmina raw material. It will also assure the purity of Pashmina for customers.

She said that it is a step in the right direction and will ensure better price for goat herding community in Ladakh as well as for local handloom artisans producing genuine Pashmina products, currently a disadvantaged lot due to rampant marketing malpractices.

The nomadic Pashmina herders live in hostile and tough terrain of Changthang and are solely dependent on Pashmina for their livelihood. At present, there are 2,400 families rearing 2.5 lakh goats.

This initiative of hallmarking Pashmina will protect the interests of these families, motivate the younger generation to continue in this profession as well as encourage more families to take up this occupation, the statement said.

Ladakh produces 50 MT of the finest grade of Pashmina in the world (12-15 microns) and this initiative will provide further impetus towards value addition of Pashmina in Ladakh.

The Ministry of Textiles is processing a proposal for funding Rs 20 crore for a de-hairing plant for Leh which along with this initiative will lead to progress in the Pashmina sector in Ladakh, the statement said.

The Changthangi or Pashmina goat is a special breed of goat indigenous to the high altitude regions of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir. They are raised for ultra-fine cashmere wool, known as Pashmina once woven. These goats are generally domesticated and reared by nomadic communities called the Changpa in the Changthang region of Greater Ladakh. The Changthangi goats have revitalized the economy of Changthang, Leh and Ladakh region, the statement said.