Prime Minister Narendra Modi today called for effective use of handlooms which, he said, can be a tool to fight poverty, just as swadeshi was a tool in the struggle for freedom. He said Khadi and handloom products provide the same warmth that mother's love provides.
Speaking at the celebrations of the first National Handloom Day in Chennai, the prime minister called for a major marketing push to sell handloom products overseas. India, whose handicrafts were once in demand across all continents, had not been able to market its handloom products well in recent times, he rued.
He said that with the world becoming progressively more aware about the environment and holistic healthcare, there is a need to highlight the eco-friendly aspects of handloom products.
The prime minister recalled his appeal on the radio programme Mann Ki Baat in October last year, for all households to keep at least one Khadi product at home. He said that he had been informed that Khadi sales have risen by 60 per cent since then. He said a similar effort now has to be made for handloom products.
On an emotional note, the prime minister said that the entire family of a weaver is involved in the creation of a product such as a saree. He said the family makes the saree just as a mother brings up a daughter - and once it is ready, the family bids to it farewell, the way a bride is bid farewell after the wedding.
The prime minister also launched the India Handloom Brand for better market positioning of quality handloom products.
He also presented the Sant Kabir Awards and National Awards for the years 2012, 2013 and 2014 to distinguished handloom personalities.
Union minister of state for textiles Santosh Kumar Gangwar said the government of India is fully committed to the social and economic development of handloom weavers.
Gangwar recalled the various initiatives taken by the ministry of textiles for development of handlooms. He said these initiatives are based on the principles of zero defect (in fabrics) and zero effect (on environment).
He expressed the hope that the handloom sector of India will acquire a distinct reputation at the global stage and that the industry would play a distinctive role in national development.