Rapped for formulating schemes without authentic field-level data on the powerloom sector, the Textiles Ministry has informed a Parliamentary panel that a comprehensive survey is likely to be ready by December 2012.

Private evaluation

In an action taken report submitted to the Lok Sabha on August 30, the panel was informed by the Ministry that a private agency, AC Nielsen ORG-MARG Pvt Ltd had already commenced field survey in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.

The survey in Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka will commence shortly. The whole survey is expected to be completed by December 2012, the Ministry said.

The Standing Committee on Labour, headed by Hemananda Biswal, had pulled up the Ministry for formulating schemes for weavers and powerlooms “without a fair assessment of the target group and the dimensions of the problems afflicting them.”

The Ministry told the panel that according to instructions of the Planning Commission and Finance Ministry, third party evaluation of all existing schemes was being initiated to redraft the guidelines of existing schemes if necessary, it said.

Health insurance

The Parliamentary panel, noting that there was no health insurance scheme for powerloom weavers, said it was unable to understand the delay, when there was already a similar scheme in operation for handloom weavers and handicraft artisans.

It was of the view that the Rajiv Gandhi Shilpi Swasthya Bima Yojana should be extended to powerloom weavers, and there was no rationale to introduce a new scheme, as is being proposed.

The Ministry, however, held that the scheme for handloom weavers already in force was meant for eligible handloom weavers and family members according to the prescribed criteria.

“Since the status and conditions of powerloom weavers/workers are not exactly identical to those of handloom weavers…. it is necessary to formulate a new policy i.e. health insurance scheme for powerloom weavers and their family members,” it said, adding that the new scheme was subject to approval of the Planning Commission.

aditi.n@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on September 2, 2012)
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