Govt begins fourth national handloom census
The government has begun collating data for compiling the fourth national census of handloom weavers and allied workers to get a 'realistic' picture of their presence and tailor policies meant for their welfare.
The whole exercise will be completed by December this year after which photo identity cards would be issued to the handloom workers. The cards will make the weavers and other workers eligible for availing benefits under the welfare schemes run by the government.
With fresh data from the new census, the government will aim at better targeting of welfare schemes meant for the handloom workers.
According to the 2009-10 census, there were 43.31 lakh handloom workers in the country, of which 36.33 lakh belonged to rural areas and 6.98 lakh workers were residing in urban areas.
However, the Development Commissioner (Handlooms) under the administrative control of Union Textiles Ministry believes the actual figure was lower and expects the new census data to more accurately reflect the number of handloom workers.
"The census that started in 2009 was jinxed, somehow it could not conclude properly. It was fraught with confusion with allegations of it not being conducted properly. The figure of 43 lakh weavers we quote right now is based on that tentative 2009-10 census figure, knowing very well from inside that this is not the correct figure. The actual figure must be less," Development Commissioner (Handlooms) Shantmanu told PTI.
However, this time around, the office of the Development Commissioner (Handlooms) under the Union Textile Ministry is collating census data through a house-to-house survey and also getting it cross checked with agencies like state government departments for a more realistic picture, Shantmanu said.