Planning Board seeks more budget for Sericulture & Weaving dept

Shillong, Aug 10: The Working Group-IX of the Meghalaya State Planning Board (MSPB) has underlined the need to enhance budget allocation for the sericulture and weaving department which was earmarked only Rs 2.39 crore this year.

This suggestion came up following a meeting of the Working Group-IX of the MSPB on Thursday under the chairmanship of former Deputy Chief Minister, Rowell Lyngdoh. The meeting reviewed the implementation of state plan schemes under the sericulture and weaving department in the past three years from 2014 till 2017.

MSPB co-chairman and member of the Working Group-IX, John F. Kharshiing told reporters that the meeting felt that allocation of more fund for the sericulture and weaving was required given the fact that the department has been able to create livelihood opportunities for the people of the state particularly the weavers.

During the year 2015-16, the budget allocation for sericulture and weaving department was Rs 2.52 crore, and for this year, the budget was reduced to Rs 2.39 crore.

The amount for income generation programmes for weavers was earlier sanctioned at Rs 9.17 crore, and this year, the amount has come down to Rs 5 crore.

Kharshiing said that the MSPB has asked the sericulture and weaving department to first conduct a census on the population of weavers, their activities and annual turnover, before submitting a proposal to the government on enhancement of budget allocation.

At present a total of over 38,900 weavers have been registered, though only 400 of them have categorized as dedicated weavers of the department with a turnover of Rs 45 lakh last year, from the sale of weaving products produced by the 400 dedicated weavers. The turnover the previous year was Rs 38 lakh.

While 21,000 weavers are engaging in Eri activity, 6,200 engaged in Muga, and 11,700 in mulberry. Most of of weavers are from Garo Hills region and Ri Bhoi district.

According to Kharshiing, the government was coming up with three Apparel and Garment Centres – at Ampati (South West Garo Hills), Tura (West Garo Hills) and Ri Bhoi District besides, setting up of Mini Yarn Bank in Shillong (East Khasi Hills) and Tura at Rs 25.11 lakh each.

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