Spl Correspondent

NEW DELHI, Feb 5: The Centre has said that the Northeastern states have the highest concentration of handloom weavers in the country, with the percentage of women going up to around 88 per cent.

The Union Ministry of Textiles also confirmed that muga silk of Assam has received the Geographical Indication (GI) tag under the Rules of Intellectual Property Rights of the Government of India. The silk weaving sector of the Northeast has a long tradition of handloom weaving, handicraft and sericulture. However, most of the looms only produce for domestic consumption.

In a Lok Sabha reply to a question by Mangaldai MP Dilip Saikia, Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani said that the Northeast has the potential to produce all four varieties of silk – mulberry, tasar, eri and muga. Muga is produced exclusively in Assam and border areas of Assam and eri silk is also produced mainly in the Northeast.

The Ministry of Textiles, through the Central Silk Board, has implemented various schemes and projects to promote, augment and preserve silk production and weaving in the country including the Northeastern states in the last five years and current year through the state sericulture departments.

From these projects, assistance is being extended to sericulture stakeholders for infrastructure development through beneficiary-oriented components like raising of kisan nursery, plantation with improved mulberry varieties, irrigation, chawki-rearing centres with incubation facility, construction of rearing houses, rearing equipment, support for improved reeling units like automatic reeling units, multi-end reeling machines, improved twisting machines and support for post yarn facilities for quality silk and fabric production.

The funds earmarked by the Ministry of Textiles through the Central Silk Board for these schemes in the last five years and the current year 2020-21 include scheme financial assistance for the Northeastern states – Rs 1.773 crore under the Integrated Scheme for Development of Silk Industry (2015-16 and 2016-17), Silk Samagra (2017-21) Rs 17.243 crore and Rs 745.69 crore under the North East Region Textile Promotion Scheme (2014-15 to 2020-21).

Textile projects being implemented in the Northeast include the National Handloom Development Programme, Comprehensive Handloom Cluster Development Scheme, Handloom Weavers’ Comprehensive Welfare Scheme, Yarn Supply Scheme and North Eastern Region Textiles Promotion Scheme.