TODAY -

Fighting a losing battle

Ninglun Hanghal *

Handloom Product being sold at the Temporary Market at B.T Road, Imphal, Manipur on 13th May 2017
Handloom Product being sold at the Temporary Market at B.T Road, Imphal on 13th May 2017 :: Pix - Shankar Khangembam



Amid the challenges of producing quality products in large quantities and market competition, weaving may take a back seat in the North-east but yet it is one of the most vital sources of livelihoods and income generation for thousands of people, particularly in rural areas.

Next to agriculture, the handloom industry continues be the second largest employment generator in the region. At the heart of this important tradition and economy are women weavers. Though invisible, weaving and weavers keep the domestic economy going. On 9 August, National Handloom Day, Union minister for textiles, Ajay Tamta said that this year the Centre was taking various initiatives for the welfare of handloom weavers.

Presiding over the main event of the Third Handloom Day celebrations in Guwahati, the minister said he not only appreciated but also saluted the handloom weavers for their commitment, dedication and skills. They should be able to earn due value for their produce, and that the government was working in this direction. Assam chief minister, Sarbananda Sonowal said about 50 per cent of weaver population of India lived in the North-east and most of them were women. In 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked people to help promote handloom and handicraft and thus preserve the great tradition of weaving in the country.

In his inaugural speech at the first national handloom day in Chennai, the Prime Minister noted that handlooms could be a tool to fight poverty, just as swadeshi was a tool in the struggle for freedom. He also noted that India, whose products were once in demand across all continents, had not been able to market its handloom products in recent times.

True to what the Prime Minister stated, a peek into the report on handloom and handicrafts in the Northeast does not give an encouraging picture. The annual report of the NE Handloom and Handicraft Corporation for 2015-16 says that the gross sale turnover of the corporation during the financial year 2015-16 was Rs 113.11 lakh and the net loss was Rs 195.86 lakh.

The authorised share capital of the corporation was Rs 8.50 crore, as of March 2016. The NEHHC record showed losses over the years. Report of the financial performance over a period of five years showed no improvement. Between the financial years 2011-2012 there was the turnover of Rs 1,681.77 lakh with a loss of Rs 150.71 lakh, Between 2012- 2013 there was a turnover of Rs 1,299.27 lakh with a loss of Rs 149.58 lakh; in 2013-14 the turnover was Rs 1,239.22 lakh and loss of Rs 439.76 lakh. The NEHHC report observed that employees have low morale due to non-revision of the pay scales.

There was a lack of professionals in strategic areas of marketing and finance. The sector was highly fragmented, unstructured and there was individualised production system with no product certification and standardisation. There were very limited institutionalised sales and showrooms, the report stated. Meanwhile the region, as the gateway to Southeast Asia, could have been promoted and made into an economic gateway.

But for handloom weavers and craftsmen this was something that did not happen. The NEHHC report observed that there was increasing threats from Asian countries, with better quality, packaging, innovation and technology. This inflow of various products ranging from household items like electronics, clothes, and food products of other Asian countries, particularly South-east Asia, flooded the markets in the North-east. Local products were obviously not in a position to compete with these readily available, attractive and cheap products.

Now, even as handloom weavers across the country are facing challenges and stiff competition, the GST Act has further created uncertainty for millions of weavers across the country. Though the North-east may pay less tax under the GST Act, it is a cause for worry for handloom weavers and handicraft artisans in other parts of the country.

The Federation of Handloom Organisation recently wrote to the Prime Minister and finance minister Arun Jaitley urging for GST exemption on handmade products. The federation stated that the GST Act was a direct threat to artisans engaged in non-machine production.

The absence of the word “hand” in the list of goods and services was indicative of the dismissal of any recognition of handmade in the GST. In the textile sector, after the GST, the distinction between hand woven and machine woven has been removed and there is a five to 10 per cent increase in prices in handlooms after the GST came into force.

Tax on handlooms will discourage even existing customers and further reduce the demand for these products, already facing competition from powerloom imitations, the petition stated. The compliance for GST demands the pre-existence of IT infrastructure, digital literacy, and access to experts like chartered accountants for uploading GST forms every month.

All these call for resources, both human and financial, which will be impossible for small producers. They are also an additional financial burden. It is imperative to exempt products made by handloom and handicraft artisans from GST to protect rural livelihoods, said the petition. It has also been reported that weavers in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, due to GST tax on cotton yarn, had spiked the price of handloom products.

The National Handloom Development Corporation, from where weavers get their raw materials, has refused to supply yarn to handloom societies that do not have a registered GST number. The handloom sector is reported to be the worst hit by the GST. While there has been talk of promoting handloom products and preserving a great tradition, weavers are caught in the web of open market, technology and competition with policies such as the new GST Act further adding to their woes.

Unless there is political will to tackle the situation, the sector is sure to face major challenges in the near future.<


* Ninglun Hanghal wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on October 15, 2017.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Mobile Application for Sangai Festival
  • Final: Hazari/Tombi Polo #1 :: Gallery
  • Sangai Festival 2017- Events Schedule
  • #TB hotspot cannot be on blindspot
  • United Metal 3.0 @Imphal
  • My name is Kom, Mary Kom
  • Swachch Bharath Swasth Bharath
  • Sangai Festival 2017- Online booking site
  • The Killing Fields (2013-17) :: Timeline
  • Mary set on Olympic gold
  • For every causes, there is a reason
  • Moibung Khunou -near khurkhul :: Gallery
  • Miss Kut #4 :: Gallery
  • On the Naga Framework Agreement
  • Media Challenge: Glance from hills #1
  • GIS day at NIT Manipur
  • Pangal Leader Mohammed Hanif Shah
  • NPF questions Speaker convening meet
  • Painting Exhibition by Babli Das (Tripura)
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • Looking out for possible measures
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #7 : Ooba
  • Cultural Program @ MCA :: Gallery
  • Parihal, Nimshimphy, Neilianthang: eMing
  • Ningol ChakKouba @MBC #3 :: Gallery
  • Oh dear Daddy, see I a Native Proud: Poem
  • Buddha's metta and karuna #3
  • Narendra Modi will never play Nehru
  • Photo Caption Contest by Whakal.com
  • General Call to All Former NPF Leaders
  • Penguin Readathon & Book Gifting
  • ENNG opposes inclusion of TCL..
  • Report alarm for Arunachal
  • Loktak witness drastic fall in migratory birds
  • Lecture on 'Rohingya Resettlement'
  • 'Weaves of Ching-tam' @London :: Gallery
  • Opening: Jadonang Football #1 :: Gallery
  • Robert's Weaves of valley & hills at London
  • Remembering boy..felled by fake encounter
  • Reorganisation of North Eastern Council #1
  • Sangai Photo Awards 2017 : Contest
  • Meeyam meekup nahum singna leibiyu
  • HighWays : Govt. needs seriousness
  • Singcha Wuya Won @Kamjong #4 :: Gallery
  • SDG Consultation: NE :: Gallery
  • North East Fashion Week #1 :: Gallery
  • Distribution Patterns of the Asian Eye
  • Sustainable Development Goal Consultation
  • Wrangle in Mapithel dam: Legal perspective
  • In the Slums of Heaven :: Poem
  • Wreath Laying Ceremony for AR Martyrs
  • Time to take a bow, Robert
  • Create jobs for NE to stop trafficking
  • March: Mera Houchongba #4:: Gallery
  • Sin-Lang Fest @DM College #2 :: Gallery
  • Sangai Festival: Ideas for a change
  • A shadowy dreamer :: Poem
  • Winter - A blessing in disguise for us ...
  • Course in Nanotechnology at NEHU
  • Pamel : Serene Natural Hub, near Lamlai
  • Vacancy at YVU Financial Services, Thoubal
  • System Operators @PR Enterprise, Khurai
  • Just by showing concern will not change..
  • Food Stall @Phayeng #2 :: Gallery
  • Miss Kut #3 :: Gallery
  • The moment :: Poem
  • Board exams decoded
  • 3rd NE Fashion at Itanagar: Day 2
  • Conference : North East in Globalized Era
  • NE-IAS launched to support Startup India
  • Painting Competition on Conservation
  • Ramkung Pamei is new MHJU Chief
  • Charuangc 2017: Rongmeis in Delhi & NCR
  • Priyogopal (Senior Artist)- Photo :: eRang
  • Kabui Dance @Jadonang Football:: Gallery
  • Fashion @NE Festival, Delhi :: Gallery
  • Deviance and Corruption in Kangleipak
  • Applied health research is vital to #endTB
  • 3rd NE Fashion at Itanagar: Day 1
  • Tri-nation Motorcycle Rally reach Imphal
  • Traffic woes continues
  • Kwatha festival #1 :: Gallery
  • Kokkhum Festival #1 :: Gallery
  • Special Rapporteur on Human Rights
  • The threat to balkanize Manipur
  • Cry of a Dying River - 6 :: Poem
  • Biological based integrated Congress grass
  • 3rd Audition of Fagi Unplugged
  • Sadar Hills District Demand: News Timeline
  • Of clean environment
  • Paonam Lily (Archery) Reception :: Gallery
  • North East Fest @ Delhi :: Gallery
  • Girls Football- Nov 4 #2 :: Gallery
  • IBSD, India & VITO, Belgium signed MOU
  • First angioplasty for in-stent restenosis
  • RIST Popular Talk-33: Quantum Hall states
  • Commonwealth alumni event of NE
  • Lecture on The Rohingya Conundrum
  • Tri-National Motorcycle Rally
  • 3rd North East Fashion Week at Itanagar
  • ILP Nov 30 deadline: Why not only for valley
  • Expected changes, do we see ?
  • Festival of Raas Leela #2 :: Gallery
  • Sin-Lang Fest @DM College #1 :: Gallery
  • Hari Uthan- Kang Chingba #2 :: Gallery
  • Code of silence: Concealing gender justice
  • God Rules Over All :: Poem
  • Five day 'Flower Show' at Ukhrul
  • Go birding to honour Bird Man of India
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Uphul Waiphul and Leikhom Leinang
  • A reminder to Central Govt.
  • Assam, Manipur bid to better ties
  • Ningol Chak-Kouba @Pune :: Gallery
  • Miss Kut #2 :: Gallery
  • Meitei Pictographic Writings :: Book Review
  • Careers related to mental health
  • Beauty & Money for a purpose
  • Human rights infractions in Mapithel Dam
  • AMAND Ningol Chakouba at Pune : Report
  • Chef Required at Kakching
  • NHPC Raising day at Loktak Power Station
  • Mary Kom enter Asian Ch'ships final
  • Of ST demand, ILP, peace talk
  • For elderly people
  • Prof. Nongmaithem Tombi Singh : A Profile
  • Hazari/ Tombi Polo Tournament #2:: Gallery
  • U-17 Footballer honored by Guv :: Gallery
  • Just in favour of nocturnal life
  • Dance of Fire Flies at Autumn :: Poem
  • North East Festival bids farewell
  • Protest over Naga pact
  • Agenda of Govt spelt out at DBC, Maram
  • Nurturing the future
  • Ningol Chak-Kouba @Delhi #2:: Gallery
  • NE Fashion Weekend @Delhi #1 :: Gallery
  • History will not forgive us
  • A girl :: Poem
  • Pre-merger political party struggle
  • JRF wanted at NIT Silchar
  • Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party
  • Welcome to Southern Nagalim greeting
  • March: Mera Houchongba #3:: Gallery
  • Girls Football- Nov 4 #1:: Gallery
  • Taxi- raising Air Pollution in Ukhrul
  • Back to basics to #endTB: Do it right
  • Man with Flower's Life :: Poem
  • Skill development training with MUDA
  • Quiz Competition at NE Festival
  • Free cataract operation at Loktak
  • Traffic control- still a flop show
  • Pui Thangamliu -Photos #1 :: eRang
  • NH7 Weekender [28 October] :: Gallery
  • Surjalal: Fellow of American Physical Society
  • Ithai Barrage for Irrigation: Beautiful Promise
  • NE Festival 2017 starts off
  • The Sun & the Cloud :: Poem
  • Land encroachment at Lamka College
  • Salesian College Grabs UK Project
  • Nagaland CM met Rajnath reg. Naga issue
  • Ranked 5th in women safety: stereotyping?
  • Prime focus
  • Miss Kut #1 :: Gallery
  • Hari Uthan- Kang Chingba #1 :: Gallery
  • Kangujam Chinglensana (Hockey) feted
  • reach the tipping point for childhood TB?
  • A round of applause for N Biren, CM..
  • Link Research with Education for NE
  • Culture is beyond Religion: Najma Heptulla
  • Vacancies @ Chirag Estate, Gurgaon
  • Defection of some party workers : NPCC
  • ST for Meiteis: Final say rests with Delhi
  • Understanding responsibility
  • Chavang Kut @Tengnoupal :: Gallery
  • Sub-Junior Girls Football #2:: Gallery
  • A crusade for a greener Manipur
  • Tourist Guide as career option #2
  • 'Govt working for inclusive development'
  • Namsai gets Buddha relic from Thailand
  • 5th NE Festival at Delhi: Program Schedule
  • 20th Asian Charter for Human Rights: Video
  • National Unity Day at Ukhrul
  • NPF MLA present at all parties meet
  • Of three Ws and Politics
  • Ningol Chak-Kouba @Delhi #1:: Gallery
  • Happy Kut Wishes :: e-pao Flash
  • Let's be racist
  • 3rd Ningol Chakouba, Delhi : A Report
  • Dr. Rahejuddin Sheikh : Best Director Award
  • I Am In You To Feel Myself :: Poem
  • Conference: North East in Globalized Era
  • Seeking contributions : Library Centre
  • RGU Celebrated National Unity Day
  • Run for Unity organized by AR
  • Of traffic chaos and mad rush
  • What if Pan Naga Hoho is final settlement
  • Chothe: Shabu Hong Rein :: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • IT Employment Devlp Course :: Gallery
  • NH7 Weekender [27 October] :: Gallery
  • Red Light Area in Manipur ?
  • IT Enabled Employment Skill Development
  • Football in India needs encouragement
  • Indo-Naga Peace Process :: Articles
  • Meeting on Hornbill Festival 2017
  • Territorial integrity : No to separate admin
  • A confusing solution, if happens
  • Hazari/ Tombi Polo Tournament #1:: Gallery
  • Candle light for Belinda Morse :: Gallery
  • Hills are Better
  • Wedding :: Poem
  • Candle lighting in memory of Belinda Morse
  • NH7 Weekender: 2nd Day Report : 28 Oct
  • RGU launched Clean and Green Campus
  • Territorial integrity: All party meet sans NPF
  • Exhibition of Pottery Crafts #2 :: Gallery
  • Phayeng Cultural programme :: Gallery
  • Khongjom War Memorial #3 :: 360 ° View
  • Ichangi Laidhi #1 :: eRang
  • Ningol Chakkouba by Paomee:: Gallery
  • Ningol Chakkouba @Kolkata :: Gallery
  • Tourism Day @ Phayeng #1 :: Gallery
  • Ningol Chakkouba @Sikkim :: Gallery
  • Ningol to her mapam lamdam :: Gallery
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2018 : Download it
  • Mera Men Tongba :: Gallery
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Kh Ninthoinganba
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Thounaojam Jeakson
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Nongdamba Naorem
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Dheeraj Moirangthem
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Amarjit Kiyam (Captain)
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Thangjam Boris
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Wangjam Suresh
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Md Shahjahan
  • Featured Photo for 2017 #4 :: Gallery
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • Landscape of Manipur #7: Wallpaper
  • SPONSORED ADS