MIRZA, Sept 12 - Director of the Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE), Monoj Kumar Das has called upon the artisans, especially handloom weavers of the State to replace their traditional practices and adopt modern techniques so that the traditional products and designs could be diversified for getting more income from the products.
Addressing a �Hatsakala Shilpa Welfare Programme� under Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFRUTI) sponsored by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and organised by Integrated Rural Artisans Development Organisation (IRADO) in association with the Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE) at Sikarhathi near here on September 10, the Director, IIE, said that artisans of Assam need to work at least 10,000 hours in their looms and machines so that they can develop their skills and become doctorates (master trainers) in their trade and produce attractive products to attract the customers and earn better profits.
The director said that handloom sector in Assam occupies an important position in India and there are 18 lakh weavers in Assam out of 44 lakh weavers all over India and hence, handloom weavers in Assam should take the advantage of their strength and try to develop their skills with great interest by replacing their traditional designs. He asked the artisans, including weavers, to adopt the latest proven technology and get exposed to new improved machines in order to develop their products and earn better livelihood by sale of the improved products.
�Handloom and organic items are the most sought-after items in the domestic and international markets and the weavers of Assam should take this advantage of growing demand for their products,� said the director.
Explaining in details the SFRUTI clusters, Monoj Kumar Das further said that Asian Development Bank (ADB) has sanctioned Rs 18000 crore to the Government of India, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) for launching the Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFRUTI) clusters in India in which IIE is one of the three nodal agencies for implementation of the scheme. He added that IIE has been implementing altogether five SFRUTI Clusters (projects) in Assam which include Brass Metal Cluster in Sarthebari in Barpeta district, Handloom (Hastakala Shilpa) Cluster in Chayani-Borduar block (Mirza) in Kamrup district, Traditional Dress Making Cluster in the fringe villages of Manas National Park in Baska district, Multi Activities Cluster in Majuli and many projects are in the pipeline at present.
He said that the basic objective of the SFRUTI programme was to develop clusters and to regenerate the traditional industries for getting livelihood in the own place of the artisans and a producer company would be registered under the scheme in which the beneficiaries would be the shareholder of the (producer) company and have decision-making power in the producer company.
Addressing the beneficiaries of the SFRUTI Cluster, the chairperson of the Integrated Rural artisans Development Organization (IRADO), Banjit Talukdar said that two major interventions� soft and hard � were being taken for empowerment of the artisans under the SFRUTI cluster at Mirza. He asked the beneficiaries to survey the market and thereby develop market-oriented products so that the produces could be sold readily.
Talukdar further explained the importance of the natural dye in the handloom products and added that the produces developed based on natural dye could prevent ultraviolet rays from affecting human.
Kulen Das, Department of WPT & BC Department, Assam also spoke in the meeting.
Several weavers and artisans shared their experiences under the SFRUTI programme.