The study aims to analyse the challenges faced by the Indian Handloom Sector with a special focus on the state of Uttar Pradesh before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study further explores the benefits of AatmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyan for the betterment of the livelihood of the COVID-19–hit handloom weavers and allied workers.
A total of 400 handloom weavers and allied workers from ten cities of Uttar Pradesh were contacted through telephone. Descriptive statistics were applied to measure the awareness about the government welfare schemes and the benefits of these schemes. Furthermore, satisfaction and opinion of the handloom weavers and allied workers regarding the benefits and sufficiency of the funds received under these schemes have also been measured.
Based on the results, the least awareness has been noted about government welfare schemes. However, a small number of weavers and allied workers were found beneficiaries of the schemes. Additionally, the majority of the respondents were found dissatisfied with the benefits. The COVID-19 pandemic is an addendum to the plight of handloom weavers and allied workers. The measures of AatmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyan could be used to aid weavers and allied workers to restore their lost revenue.
This study has limitations. Firstly, the research is limited to the handloom industry of Uttar Pradesh. Future researchers could consider the handloom sector of other states like Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, known for hand-woven clothes. Secondly, this study aims to analyse the role of AatmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyan in improving the living conditions of handloom weavers and allied workers and not to measure the impact of the Abhiyan on handloom weavers or the handloom sector. Researchers could measure the impact in future studies. Thirdly, the authors have not applied any behavioural theory or marketing models such as the Theory of Reasoned Action or the Blackwell model, which may be applied to study the attitude of handloom weavers towards welfare schemes. This may prove to be a potential direction for future research. Additionally, master weavers and handloom cooperatives societies were excluded while collecting the data. Future researchers could consider them to examine the role of the government’s welfare schemes for uplifting the socio-economic condition of the handloom weavers, allied workers, master weavers and the business of cooperative societies. Finally, due to lockdown and travel ban, the authors were forced to limit their survey to telephone only because of which they could not get the qualitative information in full. Researchers for future studies could visit the handloom concentrated areas personally or take the help of an enumerator for data collection.
The research holds significance for the young and competent designers, handloom weavers and allied workers. Designers could work with and hire handloom weavers of Uttar Pradesh. If designers and weavers work together, it will help them restore their business and generate revenue that they have lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, policymakers can collaborate with designers, which will help enhance the socio-economic condition of handloom weavers and allied workers, which has deteriorated due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The research holds significance from the point of view of exploring the challenges faced by handloom weavers and allied workers of the state of UP before and during the COVID-19 period while examining the role of AatmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyan in setting off these challenges.
Khatoon, S. and Iffat, A. (2022), "AatmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyan: a tool to revive Uttar Pradesh handloom sector", Research Journal of Textile and Apparel, Vol. 26 No. 4, pp. 468-484. https://doi.org/10.1108/RJTA-05-2021-0061
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