The textile and handicrafts industry constitutes an important segment of the Indian economy. It is one of the largest employment generators after agriculture. The sector employs about seven million people. The sector is strategic from the point of view of low capital investment, high ratio of value addition, and high potential for export and foreign exchange earnings for the country.
It is estimated that out of the total number of persons employed in handlooms, handicrafts, and sericulture, about 50 per cent are women. There are more women in the household industry than in the registered small scale or cottage units. However, in the organised sector, the percentage of women workers is extremely low, with the exception being garmenting.
Handlooms and handicrafts are a major source of income for rural communities in general and for rural women in particular. Efforts are being made to revitalize the cottage based traditional sectors like handlooms, handicrafts, jute and wool through an integrated approach covering the entire value chain. To provide encouragement to textile manufactures and farmers of raw materials, incentives are being provided like a minimum support price for cotton farmers, upgrading the technology for handloom weavers and providing centers for trade facilitation.