ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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TEXTILE INDUSTRY- And Now Legislation for Handloom

TEXTILE INDUSTRY And Now Legislation for Handloom Protection ME THE latest in the series of measures to protect the handloom sector is the decision of the Union government to introduce a comprehensive legislation to enforce the reservation scheme for this sector. All else having failed to stern the growth of and encroachment by the 'small' powerloom sector, the government now takes re- course to legal action (specificities of which have yet to be announced) to shore up the traditional handloom sector. There is strong evidence to show that official estimates of hand- loom cloth output are subject to gross overestimation.1 The significant increases in output of cloth in the decentralised sector (i e, handlooms and powerloom units with upto four looms) noticed in the sixties at a time when mill cloth production showed a declining trend was largely on account of powerlooms whose growth has been tremendous since 1958. This could only have occurred at the expense of handlooms and in violation of all stipulations regarding yarn supplies as also reserved areas of cloth production for the handlooms. Reservation of certain items of production of cloth for the handlooms was introduced as far back as 1950 within the overall framework of planned economic growth. The development of village and small industries was to be an integral part of the Plan, their role being to meet the additional demand generated for consumer goods by the large investments undertaken in basic and heavy goods industries. A comprehensive scheme was drawn up as part of the Second Plan formulation, known as the common production programme, -to encourage and support these industries to withstand competition from factory organisation of such activities and fulfil their commitments. This programme was implemented most systematically in the case of the handloom industry, the details of which have been sufficiently documented.2 In brief, production of cloth in the mill sector was to be pegged at the existing level and all the increased demand for cloth would be met by the expansion of the handloom sector. Differential excise levies and reservation of certain items of cloth production, besides a cess on the mill sector (later abolished) were the major support measures. Any breach of the reservation orders is now punishable under the Essential Commodities Act (ECA).

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