The census claims that there is an improvement in the income levels of the weaver households from the 2007 census.
Chennai: The decades-old declining trend in the number of looms and weavers has been arrested, as per the handloom census conducted after a gap of 12 years. But the sorry part is that 93 per cent of the weaver households earn less than Rs 10,000 per month and 67 per cent earn less than Rs 5000.
As per the fourth handloom census, 31.44 lakh households are engaged in weaving and allied activities in India. In the previous census in 2007 the total number of households stood at 27.83 lakh, a growth of 13 per cent in 12 years.
However, 93 per cent of these households earn less than Rs 10,000 per month and a large share— 67 per cent—earns less than Rs 5,000 per month. Households earning more than Rs 10,000 a month are just 7 per cent.
The census claims that there is an improvement in the income levels of the weaver households from the 2007 census. In 2007 census, 99 per cent of the households were earning less than Rs 5,000 a month and now it is 67 per cent.
“The previous census was done in 2007 and if we consider the inflation in these 12 years, the income levels are stagnant, if not worse,’ said D.K. Nair, a textile industry expert.
According to him, many of the weavers are actually labourers of master weavers. They get wages for the weaving work they are given. Only a small percentage of weavers independently buy yarn and sell fabric.
About 78 per cent of these households live in ‘kucha’ or ‘semi-pucca’ houses, which indicate their level of poverty.
However, the declining trend in the number of looms and weavers has been halted. In the first census conducted in 1987, there were 36.1 lakh looms, which came down to 30.4 lakh in 1997 and further to 21.5 lakh in the third census. However, as per the current census, there are 28.2 lakh looms, a growth of 31 per cent over the previous census.
Further, there are 35.22 lakh handloom workers, which includes 26.73 lakh weavers. Around 37 per cent of these handloom workers have either not attended school or have schooling below the primary level. Women constitute 72 per cent of these workers.