The handloom industry in Telangana is the second-largest employer after agriculture and allied sectors. However, there are several challenges that these artisans face. One of the major obstacles is the 5 percent Goods and Services Tax (GST) burden on raw materials, which leads to a 20 percent reduction in their earnings. The artisans are also advocating for health insurance policies as they frequently suffer from skin-related ailments.
The handloom cooperative societies have not conducted elections for the past five years, which is a crucial avenue for the artisans to voice their concerns. They believe that conducting these elections will empower them to effectively represent their issues. Additionally, they are requesting the government to allocate a monthly stipend of Rs. 25,000 to artisans aged 59 to 75 years, considering the challenges they face due to skin-related ailments.
The artisans also face difficulties accessing necessary medications for their ailments at nearby medical centers. They urge the government to implement a scheme that would alleviate the financial burden on them and ensure easy access to healthcare benefits. Furthermore, they call for an increased involvement of the Telangana State Handloom Weavers’ Cooperative Society Limited (TESCO) in promoting and procuring their handcrafted goods.
The artisans believe that TESCO’s enhanced procurement of their products will provide them with better marketing opportunities and a direct procurement mechanism. They hope that TESCO will champion their cause and support them in showcasing their handcrafted goods.