Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani today informed the Lok Sabha that around 30 per cent family members of weavers do not go to school and just one per cent of them complete graduation, according to a study that the Centre recently conducted.
The minister further said that on August 7 last year, the Development Commissioner for Handlooms under Ministry of Textiles entered into two separate MoUs with the IGNOU and the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) for providing education to handloom weavers and their children through open schooling and distance learning.
"IGNOU offers continuing education programmes and NIOS offers secondary and senior secondary level education. The MoUs further provide for exploring new courses especially relevant to the aspirations of handloom weavers for career progression," she said.
The minister said all the willing handloom weavers and their children who fulfill the eligibility conditions of these institutions can avail the learning opportunities. IGNOU has identified two academic programmes - Bachelor Prepatory Programme and Computer Literacy Programme. So far 6,175 students have been enrolled from weavers community in these programmes.
"Rs 10 lakh has been sanctioned to NIOS for conducting the survey in connection with the designing of courses exclusively for handloom weavers and their children," she said.
Irani said to promote the weaving industry and sharpen the traditional skills of the weavers, 288 block level clusters under the National Handloom Development Programme and the Comprehensive Handloom Cluster Development Scheme have been taken up during 2015-16 and 2016-17.
"Under Block Level Clusters various interventions such as skill upgradation, technology upgradation, setting up of Common Facility Centres, including Common Service Centres, engagement of textile designer-cum-marketing executive, construction of worksheds, appointment of Cluster Development Executives etc., are taken up," she said.
Replying to a supplementary, Irani said the central government will facilitate Tangaliya weavers in purchase of looms, by providing them an assistance amounting to 90 per cent of the price of looms.
(With PTI inputs)