New Delhi: The Union Textiles Minister Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani has said that the Geographical Indication tag helps not only weavers and artisans, but also the consumers. The Minister said that the GI tag is an assurance of getting the right product at the right price, directly from the weaver/artisan. Smt. Irani highlighted the importance of building consumer awareness on this matter, while addressing the inaugural session of the two-day “National Workshop on Promotion of Unique Textiles and Handicrafts for GI and Post-GI Initiatives”, being held under the aegis of the Ministry of Textiles, in Constitution Club of India, New Delhi.
Noting that many of the challenges in GI are faced after obtaining GI registration, the Minister called for the need to build a wider appreciation of the value of GI among all stakeholders, in order for better implementation of the legal provisions.
Smt. Irani announced that a GI help-desk would soon be set up in every Service Centre run by the Government for weavers and artisans. She said this would help bridge the information gap between Centre and the field, and would assist weavers and artisans in availing the benefits of Geographical Indications. The Minister said that this is being done to maximize governance, in line with the Government’s developmental philosophy of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikaas.
The Minister also launched a helpline for handicraft artisans today; the helpline number is 1800-2084-800. Recalling that the problems of 6,707 weavers have been resolved so far through the Bunkar Mitra helpline for handloom weavers, the Minister said that the Handloom Census has started, and that weavers will be given identity cards at the next National Handloom Day. The Minister also observed that the Government has decided to give 75% fee subsidy to the children of weavers and artisans of BPL families, for pursuing school education under NIOS and university education from IGNOU.
Smt. Irani assured the audience that the points raised during the workshop will be taken up by the Textiles Committee for the consideration of the Government. She also said that the Ministry of Textiles would take up issues requiring changes to the legal framework with the Ministry of Law & Justice.
The Minister also released a Compendium of Indian Handicrafts & Handlooms covered under Geographical Indications (GI), which has been compiled by NCDPD, on behalf of Ministry of Textiles. The compendium contains list and details of all 149 Indian Handicrafts & Handlooms covered under GI, till April 2017. The compendium also consists of the list of awardees of GI-tagged handicraft and handloom products. This is a unique & first-of-its-kind compilation.
The Minister also released two reports of the Textiles Committee, on traditional hand-wovens of i) Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, and ii) Karnataka.
She also handed over GI certificates to three registered proprietors, who are producers of Jamnagari Bandhani, Jamnagar, Gujarat; Kuthampully Dhoties and Set Mundu, Kerala; Karvath Kati Sarees & Fabrics, Maharashtra.
Minister of State, Textiles, Shri Ajay Tamta said that the more widespread adoption of Geographical Indications would be highly beneficial to the handicraft and handloom sectors, especially in protecting and preserving the rich cultural heritage associated with them. Shri Tamta said that the workshop is a step in this direction, which would contribute to the social and economic empowerment of handloom weavers and handicraft artisans. The Minister said that the artisan helpline launched today would enable empowerment of the last person on the street, through provision of required information.
Besides Secretary, Textiles, Smt. Rashmi Verma; Chairperson, Craft Revival Trust, Ms. Ritu Sethi; Ms. Delphine Marie-Vivien, Centre for International Cooperation in Agronomics Research and Development (CIRAD); and other dignitaries, hundreds of handicraft artisans from various states and regions across the country were present for the workshop.