SHRI AMAR PATNAIK (Odisha): The Indian handloom industry, with a rich repertoire of skills, is an essential part of the Indian heritage. According to the Fourth All India Handloom Census (2019-20), 31.45 lakh households are engaged in handloom activities, making it the second largest employment sector.

The majority (66.3 per cent) of households earn less than ` 5,000 per month. Due to limited resources, poor infrastructure and a lack of marketing support, many weavers face insurmountable debt, poor living standards and loss of artistic dignity. The ongoing pandemic has also heavily impacted this sector; shops, exhibitions are forced shut; limited access to capital and raw materials. Further, according to the UNDP, 71,060 handicraft artisans and 47,208 weavers in Odisha were affected by the cyclone 'Fani'. So, making this sector economically viable and aspirational for the next generation is, therefore, crucial.

I propose a central sector scheme for the weaver community in India with some features; income support scheme for weaver households on similar lines of the PM Kisan, ` 6,000 provided in three equal installments over the year and directly transferred to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries.

The responsibility to identify households will lie with the State Government. It includes long-term weaving contracts, e-commerce platforms for handloom products, market-oriented design development training programmes, social security coverage. This scheme follows the Government's Atmanirbhar Bharat vision of becoming vocal for our local products.

Hence, I sincerely urge the Government to consider this proposal for the benefit of the weaver community. DR. SASMIT PATRA (Odisha): Sir, I associate myself with the matter raised by the hon. Member. SHRI VISHAMBHAR PRASAD NISHAD (Uttar Pradesh): Sir, I also associate myself with the matter raised by the hon. Member.