Imphal, Nov 29 (DIPR): Chief Minister N Biren inaugurated the first Handloom and Handicraft Mall of the State apart from unveiling a Crafts Pillar at Wangkhei Keithel Ashangbi in Imphal East district today. The mall is run by Manipur Handloom and Handicraft Development Corporation (MHHDC) Ltd.
Speaking at the occasion as the chief guest, N Biren said that handloom and handicraft sector hugely contributes to the overall growth of businesses related to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in the State. And more significantly, the Chief Minister said, 50 per cent of the MSME business is owned by women in the State against the National average of 30 per cent as per the report of the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Government of India.
The Chief Minister further said that opening of an exclusive mall for handloom and handicraft products would bring further development of the sector as people coming from other States and countries as well as the people of the State would be able to find their favourite products under one roof.
Biren also directed the officials concerned to study whether the vicinity of the mall can be developed as a handloom market centre. For this, the State Government would provide soft loans, if the shop owners of the area are willing to switch their business to sale of handloom products coming from different localities of hill and valley areas of the State.
Regarding further development of handloom sector, he said that the State Government is considering to bring out a policy to replace fabrics used in stitching school uniforms with handloom products of the State. This would increase demand of handloom fabrics thereby creating more profits for weavers, the Chief Minister pointed out.
He further said that weavers used to face lots of inconveniences in getting yarn and marketing their products earlier. However, the present Government is not only providing yarn to weavers on time but also buying their products for their convenience, he said and added that the State Government had also started distributing looms to a large number of weavers.
In his functional address, Manipur Legislative Assembly Speaker Y Khemchand said that most of the handloom products are used by women in Manipur. As such, there is need to bring out a policy by MHHDC Ltd. to encourage use of handloom products by men as well, he observed. MHHDC Ltd Chairman S Rajen, who attended the function as the guest of honour said that the present Government has been putting in serious efforts to develop the handloom and handicraft sector. He said that Rs 5 crore is included in the State annual budget for MHHDC Ltd every year apart from providing Rs 1 crore as additional fund. He also expressed hope that the newly opened mall would benefit weavers, craftsmen, tailors and buyers.
Principal Secretary (Textiles, Commerce and Industries) P Vaiphei was also seated on the dais as the guest of honour. Among others, Imphal East DC Dr Rangitabali Waikhom, Imphal East SP Haobijam Jogeshchandra and MHHDC Ltd Managing Director Lamlee Kamei were also present at the function.