‘Members rarely met’: Smriti Irani on Centre scrapping Handloom Board
The minister said the decision to disband the board was taken based after a thorough review of its functioning.Updated: Sep 18, 2020, 21:49 IST
he All India Handloom Board rarely met and was thus disbanded, said Union minister for textiles Smriti Irani on Friday in Parliament, adding that it also did not contribute to policy formulation.
The minister said the decision to disband the board was taken based after a thorough review of its functioning.
“The assessment revealed that weavers from across the Nation did not benefit from the Board which barely met, and did not take weavers across all states into confidence. There was no contribution from the Board as regards policy formulation and its implementation,” Irani said in a written reply.
“On the other hand, the Weavers’ Service Centres and the State Handloom departments have been working well in good coordination through interactions on policy, implementation of Government schemes, educating weavers about online marketing platforms including efforts to onboard weavers on Government e-marketplace (GeM), and addressing the problems of handloom weavers through Chaupals,” she added.
The Textile Ministry decided to scrap the All India Handloom Board with effect from July 27 and the Handicrafts Board on August 3 to “ensure a leaner government machinery”, sparking controversy after the Central government ran a massive social media campaign celebrating National Handloom Day on August 7.
Craft activist and one of the founders of Dastkar, a society for craftspeople, Laila Tyabji took to Facebook to talk about the board, which gave a chance to artisans to directly engage with government policy.
“All these years on, it remained the one official forum, however watered down, where the voices and views of weavers and craftspeople could be expressed directly. One place where representatives of the sector were present in considerable numbers, and were actually empowered to advise the government in policy and sectoral spending,” Tyabji said.
According to a gazette notification issued by the ministry and accessed by Hindustan Times, the Boards were scrapped ‘in consonance with the Government of India vision of ‘Minimum Government and Maximum Governance’.
“A leaner Government Machinery and the need for systematic rationalization of Government bodies, the Government of India has abolished All India Handloom Board with effect from the date of issue of this resolution,” states the notification.
Officials in the ministry said that this was just the first step in a massive churn-taking place to reduce the expenditure of the ministry and get rid of redundant boards and organizational units.