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Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems


Sitaram Rao Livelihoods Asia Case Study Competition 2017: Reinventing the Handloom Sector

Aug 15, 2017 (Tue),

The Handloom Sector is the second largest unorganized economic activity in India, after agriculture and constitutes an integral part of the rural and semi-rural livelihoods in India. Handloom weaving also constitutes a rich and vibrant aspect of several other economies in South Asia. Its labour intensive character, decentralized nature, optimum utilization of scarce capital resources, minimal use of power, eco-friendly nature, openness to innovations and adaptability to market requirements give the handloom sector a unique position. Handloom weaving is largely decentralized and the weavers are mainly from the vulnerable and weaker sections of the society, who weave for their household needs and also contribute to the production in textile sector. Moreover, an overwhelming majority of the weavers are women. Thus, the sector plays its role in women empowerment as well. The traditional significance of this sector along with its inseparable links with our ancient cultural heritage further explains the vitality of this sector. The potential of the handloom sector is therefore immense - in terms of livelihoods creation and in terms of domestic sales and exports. Importantly, promoting and revitalizing the handloom sector will help to preserve incredible skills of handloom weavers, honed over several centuries.

However, over the years, there have been huge challenges that have seen handloom artisans shifting from high skill livelihoods to unskilled labour markets. The younger generation is not adopting weaving profession due to lower wages and tough working conditions. Some of the key challenges that the handloom sector faces relate to non-availability of adequate quantities of good quality raw material at reasonable prices, serious constraints of credit availability and accessibility of weavers to high value markets. New techniques in weaving, dyeing, milling and in looms up-gradation, etc. are not being effectively disseminated. And except for a few private sector players, there is very little investment in prototype and design development in the handloom sector.

It has now become important to promote and develop systems and practices for high quality production and economic profitability of the handloom sector aligned to the latest trends and market demands. Many innovations for rejuvenation of traditional handloom industry are being practiced in Asia region. These innovative practices are aimed at resolving the issues of market gap between demand and supply of raw materials, credit needs, market innovations and research and development for new trends and design infusion.

The Sitaram Rao Livelihoods Asia Case Study Competition invites cases from across the region that provides evidence of innovations to revive the handloom sector.

The case should cover the following points:

  • Socio-economic conditions and needs of the focus group for which the innovation was designed
  • Nature and strategy of program
  • Innovation adopted
  • Impact of initiative
  • Facts and figures of program (results)
  • Challenges faced
  • Scale and sustainability of program
How to apply:
  • All participants are requested to send the case study abstract, not exceeding 700 words, by August 15, 2017
  • The shortlisted candidates will be requested to send the full case study, not exceeding 5000 words, by September 30, 2017
  • Once the final cases are submitted, they will be reviewed and the 10 best cases will be selected
  • The 10 best cases will be evaluated by an eminent Jury whereby the top 3 cases will be selected (tentatively in October 30)
For any clarification, please contact shruti@accessdev.org 



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