The handloom sector plays a very vital role in the country’s economy. It is the largest employment provider next only to the agriculture. There is hardly a village where weavers do not exist.
The handloom of the Northeast States of India have been widely acclaimed for their indigenous variety and interesting use of color play and motifs. It is an important traditional rural industry that occupies a prominent position in maintaining its heritage and culture and plays a dominant role in the cultural and economic development of the rural masses. Handloom sector reveals scope for the promotion of handlooms in Northeast region because almost all tribes and communities in the hills and the plains of the region are actively engaged in this activity. This region has the highest concentration and a rich heritage of handlooms in the country.
However the availability of products, improvement in the quality and durability of colours, innovative design are a few of the challenges. Yarn shortages and steep prices are continuing problems in the handloom sector. The decline of local markets for handlooms is a reality today, which has to be addressed both in terms of cost factor as well as other strategies. The Government is aware that handloom weavers are facing stiff competition from powerloom and mill sector due to technological constraints and lower productivity of handlooms in comparison to powerlooms. Efforts are on to upgrade hand weaving technology in terms of weavers’ comfort, productivity and quality. Even prior to Independence, Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the Nation promoted it as a gainful economic activity. The development of support systems that would match the characteristics of the industry is urgently needed today. As far as the Indian Economy is concerned, Handloom industry has a great potential to give employment and self- sufficient life to rural poor.