Sunday, January 17, 2021
Home Government and Policy Modi govt abolishes textile board with ‘activists’ and ‘experts’ pontificating, to get work done...

Modi govt abolishes textile board with ‘activists’ and ‘experts’ pontificating, to get work done through institutes like NIFT instead

7th August 2020 marks the 6th National Handloom Day in India. August 7 was chosen as National Handloom Day to commemorate the Swadeshi Movement which was launched on this day in 1905 in the Calcutta Town hall to protest against the partition of Bengal by the British Government.

The Modi government has taken yet another step to make the government free from activists and experts who know how to pontificate without really making any impact on the ground. Just like the garden variety activist who pontificates about poverty in the slums while sitting in air-conditioned parties, the Handloom Board, which was abolished by a notification on the 27th of July, had ‘activists and experts’ who sat in Delhi, enjoying the social status of a prestigious position without really working with the weavers.

The move inspired some amount of outrage from expected quarters that wished to turn this into a move that supposedly hampered the growth of the industry and also the interests of the weavers. The loudest criticism came from ‘activist’ Laila Tyabji.

Who is Laila Tyabji and is her criticism valid?

Laila Tyabji is reportedly an Indian social worker, designer, writer, and craft activist. She is one of the founders of Dastkar, a Delhi-based non-governmental organization, working for the ‘revival of traditional crafts in India’. Unsurprisingly, she was awarded by the UPA government in 2012 with a Padma Shri.

Outlook reported:

Laila Tyabji, chairperson of Dastakar — a not-for-profit NGO working to support traditional Indian craftspeople – reacted to the decision and said: “Strange things happen quietly in COVID times – without even a whisper of warning. The news that the almost 70-year-old All India Handicrafts Board, established in 1952 by Pupul Jayakar and nurtured by Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, has been abolished came as a complete surprise.”

Tyabji expressed her shock in a Facebook post. She wrote: “All these years on, it remained the one official forum, however, watered down, where the voices and views of weavers and craftspeople could be expressed directly. One place where representatives of the sector were present in considerable numbers and were actually empowered to advise the Government in policy and sectoral spending… The spaces where people themselves can interact directly with Government, or be part of their own governance, are certainly becoming leaner and increasingly few in number. It is worrying.”

Essentially, Laila Tyabji insinuated that the Handloom Board was the one true voice of the artisans and craftsperson and the abolition of the board meant that the government would work in isolation and not really hear the real voice of the people, christening herself as their representative.

It is important to note that people in the know say that the Handloom Board was nothing but a group of advisors who wished to pontificate without doing making a substantial impact. “The board has existed for 4 decades. What is their impact?”, an individual close to the board said. Essentially, the board was started to give political patronage to friendly faces by the previous regime and thus, served no substantial purpose in furthering the interests of the weavers over the past 4 decades.

The criticism that has come from Laila Tyabji gives one the impression that voices of the downtrodden, which were heard through these activists are now being suppressed by the government. However, did Laila Tyabji actually make any substantial impact while working with the ministry to give the Ministry the required inputs?

People in the know have now questioned the commitment of Laila herself citing another example. Vide on order in 2016 was passed for the up-gradation of Weavers Service Centres and for the creation for Design Resource Centres.

The composition of the committee was as under:

The composition of the committee was as under:

  1. (i)  Ms. Laila Tyabji, Designer and founder of Dastkar, New Delhi.
  2. (ii)  Ms. Jaya Jaitley, Founder & President of Dastkari Haat Samiti,New Delhi.
  3. (iii)  Mr. Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Designer, Kolkata
  4. (iv)  Mr. Gaurang Shah, Designer, Hyderabad
  5. (v)  Ms. Anavila Misra, Designer, Mumbai
  6. (vi)  D.C (Handlooms) (Ex-officio) – Member Convener

The 1st meeting of the committee was held on 08.11.2016 under the chairpersonship of Hon’ble Minister of Textiles, in which policy decisions regarding revamping of WSCs were taken. On the basis of inputs received from WSCs along with the requirement of additional physical infrastructure & manpower, a draft report was submitted by the expert committee. Thereafter, the 2nd meeting of the expert committee was held on 27.02.2017 for discussing the draft report and to make final recommendations for upgrading WSCs.

In the meeting, it was decided that the expert committee members shall indicate their preferences for visits to various WSCs and such visits will be facilitated by the ministry.

Interestingly, only Jaya Jaitley visited the WSC and submitted her report to the Ministry. Laila Tyabji, who is now outraging about the Handloom Board being abolished and that her work being the “voice of the voiceless” will be compromised, did not only not bother to visit any WSC but also did not bother to submit a report to the Ministry.

Thereafter, it was decided to abolish the board and work towards the upliftment of the weavers and craftsmen through NIFT.

The Modi government then decided to set up DRC in all 28 Weavers Service Centres (WSCs) through NIFT with the following objective:

• To build and create design-oriented excellence in the Handloom Sector.

• To facilitate weavers, exporters, manufacturers and designers for creating new designs.

According to sources, an amount of Rs 3.5 crores has already been released to NIFT to work with weavers within the framework of this program and students and faculty, together, would be working with the Ministry.

The same objectives that were meant to be met by the committee and the board is now working effectively through the NIIFT.

Thus, it is evident that Laila Tyabji herself was hardly interested in representing the voices of the downtrodden to the Ministry. If she was, she would have visited the WSC and given her inputs to the government.

What people said about the Handloom Board

Essentially, the Handloom Board was an advisory council that made little to no impact on the ground. The members thus used their position as a status symbol without really contributing to the development or welfare of the weavers through their position in the board.

Many in the know expressed their opinion on the board, however, wished to stay anonymous. One person in the know said, “How can they claim to be the voice of the weavers of Bhagalpur and several other areas sitting in their AC rooms in Delhi? None of them bothered to visit the weavers personally and they wish to pretend as if they were the sole voice of the downtrodden. This is just them being disgruntled at losing a ‘prestigious position’ that they can show-off in parties”.

Essentially, people in the know said that the Board was hardly of any consequence and more work is certainly being done after the Ministry’s association with NIFT as compared to the board giving “gyan” on what the weavers and artisans needed without even meeting them.

Handloom Day

7th August 2020 marks the 6th National Handloom Day in India. August 7 was chosen as National Handloom Day to commemorate the Swadeshi Movement which was launched on this day in 1905 in the Calcutta Town hall to protest against the partition of Bengal by the British Government. The Handloom industry in India is of prime significance since it not only symbolises the culture of India but also gives employment to thousands of women.

The Modi government decided to abolish the much-hyped and ornamental Handloom Board. The notification to abolish the Handloom Board was issued on the 27th of July. The notification read, “‘Minimum Government and Maximum Governance’, leaner government machinery and the need for systematic rationalisation of government bodies, the Government of India have abolished All India Handloom Board with effect from the date of this resolution.”

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Nupur J Sharma
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017

Related Articles

Trending now

US State Department releases fact sheet alleging Covid-19 virus may have originated in Wuhan Institute of Virology, demands a thorough probe

US state department says that Wuhan Institute of Virology was studying the bat virus, and several researches had become sick

Nidhi Razdan, fake Harvard professorship and her blog explaining the fiasco, which raises more questions than answers: Details

Nidhi Razdan has now penned a blog detailing how she fell victim to a phishing attack promising her professorship at Harvard.

“Absolutely rubbish”, “Propaganda driven” and “Hinduphobic”: Netizens call for a boycott of Tandav web-series on Amazon Prime

Saif Ali Khan-starrer Tandav on Amazon Prime is drawing severe flak online for its Hinduphobic content

What the Nidhi-Harvard story reveals about our world: Get off your high horse, you are not that special, anyway

Liberal journalist, Nidhi Razdan, thought she had received an offer from Harvard University to become an Associate Professor of journalism.

They’re paying someone in Taloja to torture him till he names Arnab, he’s on death bed: Ex-BARC CEO family speak up, file affidavit

Days after they arrested BARC COO Romil Ramgarhia, they arrested BARC former CEO Partho Dasgupta on the 25th of December 2020.

Anti-farm law protesters attack vaccination center in Haryana, chase doctors away: Details

Chaotic scenes were observed in Kaithal, Haryana where an attempt was made to chase doctors away from the vaccination center.

Recently Popular

Nidhi Razdan was scammed into believing she got an offer from the real Harvard University to become a professor of journalism: Details

Nidhi Razdan, formerly with NDTV, has revealed that she was the victim of a phishing attack and Harvard never came calling.

The Nidhi Razdan Harvard fiasco: A user had sounded off the alarms as early as September 2020

Nidhi Razdan revealed on Friday that she fell victim to a phishing scam and confirmed that she was never offered a job by Harvard.

All you need to know about Jhanvi Kukreja murder case, the teenage girl who was brutally killed at a New Year party in Mumbai

Reports suggest that the injuries incurred by Jhanvi Kukreja were homicidal and not accidental

Ravish Kumar apologises for spreading fake news about paddy procurement by govt after letter to NDTV by PIB: Here is what he said

After getting caught for peddling fake news about paddy procurement by govt, controversial NDTV news anchor Ravish Kumar has apologized

‘Tit for Tat’, ‘Work of Art’: Netizens react to the Nidhi Razdan Harvard fiasco, question her logic

Netizens have been commenting on the Nidhi Razdan Harvard fiasco and pointed out the incredulousness of the whole situation.

Vanishing barons: Alibaba founder Jack Ma and 4 other Chinese billionaires who had mysteriously gone missing

Several prominent elites from China who had ran afoul with the CCP had mysteriously disappeared from the public eye, including Jack Ma

US State Department releases fact sheet alleging Covid-19 virus may have originated in Wuhan Institute of Virology, demands a thorough probe

US state department says that Wuhan Institute of Virology was studying the bat virus, and several researches had become sick

How luck favoured ‘yorker specialist’ Natarajan and he became a game-changer for the Indian cricket team in Australia

While Indian fans await his splendid performance in the second innings of the Brisbane Test, for T Natarajan, the game has just begun.

On Day 1 of the COVID-19 vaccination drive, 1.65 lakh beneficiaries vaccinated across 3,351 sites in India

PM Modi launched the world's biggest COVID-19 vaccination drive in the country today at 10:30 am via video conferencing

Nidhi Razdan, fake Harvard professorship and her blog explaining the fiasco, which raises more questions than answers: Details

Nidhi Razdan has now penned a blog detailing how she fell victim to a phishing attack promising her professorship at Harvard.

‘Temple attacks in Andhra have enraged Hindu community, state govt not taking any action,’ Pejavara Mutt’s seer writes to Amit Shah

The seer has sought a committee of intelligence officials to conduct a transparent inquiry on the temple attacks in Andhra

“Absolutely rubbish”, “Propaganda driven” and “Hinduphobic”: Netizens call for a boycott of Tandav web-series on Amazon Prime

Saif Ali Khan-starrer Tandav on Amazon Prime is drawing severe flak online for its Hinduphobic content

What the Nidhi-Harvard story reveals about our world: Get off your high horse, you are not that special, anyway

Liberal journalist, Nidhi Razdan, thought she had received an offer from Harvard University to become an Associate Professor of journalism.

Kerala state board Class 9 textbook distorts history, claims Abu al-Qasim Al-Zahwari was the ‘Father of Surgery’ instead of Sushrutha

Indian physician Sushrutha, who lived much earlier than Al-Zahwari, is considered to be the 'father of surgery'

They’re paying someone in Taloja to torture him till he names Arnab, he’s on death bed: Ex-BARC CEO family speak up, file affidavit

Days after they arrested BARC COO Romil Ramgarhia, they arrested BARC former CEO Partho Dasgupta on the 25th of December 2020.

Connect with us

245,563FansLike
496,912FollowersFollow
22,700SubscribersSubscribe