The Bihar government plans to emboss the Handloom Mark to all handloom cotton and silk products woven in the state for the sake of authenticity and transparency in subsidy distribution. It will also help identify which product has been woven where and by whom.
“We are planning to start labelling all handloom products in the state with the Handloom Mark, which is provided by the central government. It will help differentiate handloom products with power loom and mill products. It will also cut out fake products,” said principal secretary, industries, S. Siddharth.
Siddharth added that the state government will give subsidy ranging from 10 to 20 per cent to weavers only on those products that carry the Handloom Mark. The step will bring transparency in subsidy distribution, as the the number printed on the label will denote who wove what and where.
At present, there are around 6,741 active handlooms in Bihar with unique identification numbers, while the state government is trying to increase the number to 10,000.
The Handloom Mark scheme was launched in 2006 under the office of the development commissioner for handlooms, with the textiles committee under the ministry of textiles as the implementing agency to give a collective identity to handloom products that would help guarantee for the buyer that the product being bought is genuinely hand-woven.
The National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, had designed its logo from the interlocking of the warp and the weft to form a three-dimensional cube.
So far, Bihar has been using Handloom Mark labels in the satrangi chadar – the hospital bedsheet scheme meant for government hospitals since 2017-18. The government now wants to expand to all products, except low-priced ones such as gamchha (towel), lungi and handkerchief.
Industries department officials said the challenge was to supply enough Handloom Mark labels to weavers, as the textile ministry offices in Varanasi and Calcutta are not providing it in adequate numbers.
Bihar State Handloom Cooperatives Union chairman Naquib Ahmad said even the central agencies were not giving the required number of Handloom Mark labels to handloom cooperatives. “I have directed my officials to look into the matter and pursue it even at the central government’s level, if needed,” said Siddharth, when asked about the issue.