Handloom is any loom other than Powerloom
- Part 4 -
With overviews on the handlooms of Assam and Manipur

Sougrakpam Bhubol *

 Leirum Phee as seen at Ima Keithel on 10th July 2019
Leirum Phee as seen at Ima Keithel on 10th July 2019 :: Photo - Shankar Khangembam

(31). Total and Average number of days worked by handloom workers
(i). total number of Working Days =4,85,90,527,
(ii). Average Working Days =216.

(32). Number of weavers by religion =2,12,481,
(i). Hindu =1,12,653,
(ii). Muslim =22,499,
(iii). Jain =12,
(iv). Sikh =76,
Christian =62,200,
(v). Buddhist =79,
(vi) Zoroastrian =20,
(vii). Others =14,942.

(33). Number of weavers by social group =212,481,
(i). Schedule Caste =6,508,
(ii). Schedule Tribe =62,576,
(iii). OBC = 92,088,
(iv). Others =51,309.

(34). Number of weavers by education
(i). Never Attended Scholl =26,562,
(ii). Below Primary =15,408,
(iii). Primary (passed std.
(v). =25,982,
(iv). Middle (passed Std-VIII) =58,199,
(v). High School/Higher Secondary =43,710,
(vi). Higher Secondary = 25,694,
(vii). Graduation & Above 16,598,
(viii). Others =328.

(35). Number of weavers having bank accounts
(i). Male =1,132,
(ii). Female =50,128,
(iii). Transgender =22.

(36). Number of weavers having Aadhar card =
(i). Male =7,582,
(ii). Female =1,97,806,
(iii). Transgender =30.

(37). Number of weavers by nature of engagement =
(i). Male =4,152(part-time), 3,784 (full-time)
(ii). Female =75,481(part-time), 1,29,027(full-time),
(iii). Transgender =27(part time), 10(full time).

(38). Number of weavers by employment status =2,12,481
(i). Independent =2,06,322,
(ii). Under co-operative society =487,
(iii). Under Khadi & Village Industries Commission/ boards =96,
(iv). Under master weaver =5,446,
(v). Under State Handloom Development Corporation =130.

(39). Total and average number of days worked by weavers =
(i). Total no. of working days =4,63,64,611,
(ii). Average no. of days worked =218.

(40). Number of allied workers by religion =12,203
(i). Hindu =5,712,
(ii). Muslims =613,
(iii). Jain =0,
(iv). Sikh =3,
(v). Christian =5,246,
(vi). Buddhist =54,
(vii) Other =575.

(41). Number of allied workers by social group =12,203
(i). Scheduled castes (SCs) =1010,
(ii). Scheduled tribes (STs) =5,222,
(iii). Other backward castes (OBCs) =4116,
(iv). Others =1,855.

(42). Number of allied workers by education =12,203
(i). Never attended school =1193,
(ii). Below Primary =71,
(iii). Primary =1,591,
(iv). Middle =3,450,
(v). High school/ Secondary =2632,
(vi). Higher Secondary =1497,
(vii). Graduate & Above =1051,
(viii). Others =62.

(43). Number of allied workers having bank accounts
(i). Male =661,
(ii). Female =1,994,
(iii). Transgender =0.

(36). Number of allied workers having Aadhar card =
(i). Male =5,226,
(ii). Female =6,541,
(iii). Transgender =1.

(43). Number of allied workers by nature of engagement =
(i). Male =4,559(part-time), 824(full-time),
(ii). Female =3,116(part-time), 3,703(full-time),
(iii). Transgender =0(part time), 1(full time).

(45). Number of allied workers by employment status =12,203.
(i). Independent =10,537,
(ii). Under co-operative society =16,
(iii). Under Khadi & Village Industries Commission/ Board =5,
(iv). Under Master Weaver =1,545,
(v). Under State Handloom Development Corporation =100.

(46). Total and average number of days worked by allied workers
(i). Total no. of Working Days = 22,25,916,
(ii). Average number of days worked=182.

(47). Distribution of Non-Households by type of entity =147.
(i). Company =0,
(ii) Co-operative Society =91,
(iii). Government /Corporation=26,
(iv). Producer group =26,
(vi) Others =4, (vii).

(48). Distribution of Non-Households by type of looms =795,
(i). Pit loom with Dobby/ Jacquard =61,
(ii). Other Pit Looms =13,
(iii). Frame loom with Dobby/ Jacquard =60,
(iv). Other Frame loom =97,
(v). Loin Loom =501,
(vi) Others =63.

(49). Distribution of Non-Households reporting production of major fabrics =
(i). Dhoti, Sarong, Lungi, Angavastram = 23,
(ii). Saree =4,
(iii). Dress material (Salwar, kameez, etc), Suiting, Shirting, Long Cloth =5,
(iv). Towel Napkin, Duster Gamcha-3,
(v). Bedsheet, Furnishings, Blanket =0,
(vi). shawls/Mekhla Chadder/Loi Stole /Scarf Muffler =123,
(vii). Durries, Rugs, Mats =2,
(viii). Others (including Bandage) =2.

(50). Distribution of Non-Households reporting usage of major yarns =
(i). Cotton 1to20 =14,
(ii). Cotton 21to40 =11,
(iii). Cotton 41to80 =2
(iv). Cotton Above 80 =4,
(v) Viscose Blends =0,
(vi). Muga Silk =6,
(vii). Eric Silk =2,
(viii). Mulberry Silk =3,
(ix). Tussar Silk =0,
(x) Line =1,
(xi). Wool =6,
(xii). Acrylic Wool =120,
(xiii). Polyster Blend =4,
(xiv). Jute =0,
(xv). Zari =2,
(xvi) Others=2.

(51). Distribution of Non-Households reporting major source of input for Hank Yarn, Dyes and Chemicals =HANK YARN: Open Market =83,
(i). Master Weavers =3,
(ii). Co-operative Society =0,
(iii) NHDC =0,
(iv). KVIC / KVIB=0,
(v). Others =73.

(i). Open Market = 9,
(ii). Master Weavers=1,
(iii). Co-operative Society =2,
(iv) NHDC =1,
(v). KVIC KVIB =0,
(vi) Others =0.

(53). Distribution of Non-Households reporting major source of input for Dyed Yarn=
(i). Open market =119,
(ii). Master weavers =2,
(iii). Co-operative Society =0,
(iv). National /State Handloom Development Corporation =0,
(v). KVIC /KVIB=0,
(vi) Others =115

(54). Distribution of Non-Households reporting the major source of sales of their major products
(i). Local market =141,
(ii). Master weaver =0,
(iii). Co-operative society =0,
(iv). Organized fairs/ exhibition =5,
(v). Export=0,
(vi). E-Commerce =0,
(vii). Others=126.

Manipur has been implementing most of the centrally-sponsored schemes, above state sponsored ones, under the Development Commissioner for Handlooms, Ministry of Textiles, Govt. of India, through state Directorate of Handlooms and Textiles, Govt. of Manipur, and also under the central office of the Weavers' Service Centre (WSC), Imphal Branch.

The population of Assam as per Census 2011 is 31205576. and by 2023 it is projected to be 35713000. The population of Manipur as per the census, 2011, is 2,855,794, and its estimated increasing number in 2023 is 3,436,948. When the population of weavers is 12,69,000, it is 3.6% of the total population of Assam engages in weaving activities.

In the case of Manipur, where its weavers' population is 2,21,855, it is 6.5% of the total population is engaged in weaving activities. The National Handloom Census, 1995-96 reported that Manipur had 4.62 lakh handloom workers (4.25 lakh weavers, 0.29 preparatory, 7,488 dyers & hired which was 2nd position among the top States of the country, 2.81 lakh looms which was 4th position among top States, consuming 12.196 lakh Kg. of yarn per month, which was in 7th position among the top states and produced 96.07 lakh meters of handloom fabrics which was also 7th among top States of the country.

About 70% of the total weavers were outside the Co-operative fold and the remaining 30% were under the Co-operative fold and. Therefore, a large number of weavers are self-earners. The question is how fast the number of the state's weavers is decreasing from 16% in 2011 to only 6.5% in 2023. It is suspected that there might have been errors in the data collection during the 4th Handloom Census, 2019-20, including the possibility of many weavers being left to be covered by the census.

The Assam Apex Weavers and Artisans Cooperative Federation Ltd. (ARTFED) has been working for the promotion of the handloom sector of Assam under the directives of the Directorate of Handlooms and Textiles, Govt. of Assam. (ARTFED) at present, has 55 showrooms/emporiums named JAGARAN throughout India, of which 49 are inside the State and 6 showrooms are outside the State in the following cities -Kolkata, Kanpur, Jaipur, Indore, and New Delhi.

For Manipur state also main two implementing agencies for the promotion of the handloom sector namely the Manipur Handloom and Handicrafts Development Corporation Ltd. (MHHDC) as the direct implementing agency of the Directorate of Handlooms and Textiles, Govt. of Manipur, and the Manipur Apex Handloom Weavers and handicrafts Artisans' Co-Operative Society Ltd. (AWAS) as an implementing agency of both central as well as state sponsored schemes and projects. There is a Department of Sericulture, Govt. of Manipur since 1991 to promote the silk industry and allied workers of the state.

One fact in everyone's understating is that handloom industry will not flourish until benefits under both central and state sponsored schemes and projects reach genuine weavers. And as additional remark to conclusion, the Handloom (Reservation of Articles for Production) Act, 1985 should be amended with inclusive provisions of contextual scenarios of handloom sectors of respective states.

With its strict enforcement, the clothes/fabrics, motifs, designs, etc. exclusively reserved for weavers/artisans and should be protected from any possible infringements or imitation by the powerloom sector.

The power loom sector can also be developed under a policy but without further lobbying for snatching away any handloom-reserved items.Further reading: For both Assam and Manipur, strictly enforcement of this Handloom Act of 1985, and, enactment of powerful monitoring committees along with well-accommodated textile policies, can be regarded as clarion calls.

Registered geographical indications
(Handloom/Handicrafts): Assam and Manipur.

Application no. Geographical indication Type State/UT
55 Muga silk Handicraft Assam
371 Shaphee Lanphee Handicraft Manipur
372 Wangkhei Phee Handicraft Manipur
373 Moirang Phee Handicraft Manipur
384 Muga Silk of Assam ;(Logo - connected with GI-55) Handicraft Assam
594 Gamosa of Assam Handicraft Assam

1. "The North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy" (NEIIPP) 2007
2. "Industrial and Investment Policy of Assam(Amendment), 2023.
3. The Industrial and Investment Policy of Manipur, 2013
4. Manipur Textiles Policy, 2020.
5. Handloom Policy:Assam, 2017-18.
6. Revised Guideline of National Handloom Development Programme (2022-23 to 2025-26).
7. Indian Textiles by John Gillov.
8. The Manipur Use and Procurement of Local Handloom and Handicrafts Products Policy, 2016.
9. Website of the Handloom Export Promotion Council..
10. Neeta Deshpande, Man Vs Machine, 2019.
11. Ashok Chatterjee, "The powerloom Lobby is out to destroy India's handloom", Mint-2015.
12. "Women and Entrepreneurship in North East India: Handloom as an Enterprise in Manipur" by Otojit Kshetrimayum
13. "Magical weaves of Manipur: Handloom Tales" by DHNS
14. G.I.Act. of India - PIB


* Sougrakpam Bhubol wrote this article for
The writer (Sougrakpam Bhubol) was formerly Chairman of National Research Centre (NRC), Manipur,
Vice-President of the Manipur Apex Handloom Weavers and Handicrafts Artisans' C.S. Ltd.,
and presently, President of the Shintha Handlooms and Handicrafts C.S. Ltd.
Thongju-II, Imphal East, Manipur, and
Secretary of All Manipur Columnists' Union (AMCU).
He can be contacted to shinthangl(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on 29 January 2024 .

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