VIJAYAWADA: Extending a helping hand to the handloom weavers in distress due to coronavirus crisis and lockdown in the State, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Saturday released the promised annual aid of Rs 24,000 for each weaver’s family six months ahead of schedule. A total of Rs 194.46 crore was provided to 81,024 weavers’ families having own looms.
Addressing handloom weavers’ representatives through a video conference, the Chief Minister said the financial aid is being paid in advance to help the weavers, who are facing problems during the corona pandemic. “I launched YSR Nethanna Nestham on December 21, my birthday, last year, and thought of releasing the aid for the second time on the same day.
But, seeing the problems and losses suffered by weavers due to corona crisis, we decided to advance the release of financial aid,” he explained. Jagan said during the corona crisis, markets across the country did not open. Further, the cost of raw material has increased and handloom weavers have to face the onslaught of mill made fabrics, he pointed out.
E-marketing platform for handlooms, handicrafts
“In fact, I observed their problems closely during my 3,648 km padayatra. Uppada, Tippa Samudram, Mangalagiri, Venkatagiri, Dharmavaram, Madhavaram, Ponduru, Pedana, Chirala, Jammalamadugu, Madanapalli and more -- all are famous for their own designs and unique varieties of handlooms - but all of them face a common problem - lack of marketing facility and increase in raw material cost. They are unable to even earn Rs 300 - Rs 400 per day. I promised to provide Rs 24,000 per year to every weaver owning loom and YSR Nethanna Nestham scheme was launched,” he elaborated.
Jagan announced that the government decided to create an e-marketing platform for handicrafts and handlooms and it will be launched on October 2. Apart from handloom weavers, craftsmen of Etikoppaka, Kondapalli, Budithi and other places will get an opportunity to market their wares online for a better price. “To ensure its effectiveness, we have to cross three bridges -- quality issues, logistic problems and payment gateways. We are working on it and on October 2, the e-marketing platform will be launched,” he explained.
The Chief Minister said he was shocked on finding that the previous TDP regime spent less than Rs 200 crore on weavers’ welfare. “In 13 months since our government had formed, we spent nearly Rs 600 crore, including the aid released today. A sum of Rs 103 crore was released to clear outstanding dues to APCO in the previous regime. Another Rs 109 crore was released as payment for cloth procured from handloom weavers societies through APCO for making corona face masks, which are stitched by Self Help Groups,” he said.
Expressing satisfaction over being able to help the weavers in distress with the blessings of God, he highlighted various welfare initiatives like Rythu Bharosa, Amma Vodi and enhanced social security pensions, and said as promised house sites will be distributed to beneficiaries on July 8. As much as Rs 43,000 crore was directly credited into the accounts of 3.89 crore people in the state under various schemes in an unbiased manner and without giving scope for any corruption.
As on today, 81,024 weaver families have benefited from YSR Nethanna Nestham and if anyone is left out, they can avail the scheme by next month on the same day. They have to apply now and it will be verified by village volunteers. “Anyone can approach the government through toll free number 1902 and their problems will be redressed,” he said and sought suggestions from handloom weavers to further improve the programme. Minister for Handlooms and Textiles Mekapati Goutham Reddy and other officials were present on the occasion.