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India is known for its handloom industry. It requires artisanship to produce handloom and many times the whole family is involved in the family handloom business. However, do you know the length and breadth of the industry? This article elaborates on what a handloom industry is, an overview of the Indian handloom industry, examples of handlooms, schemes from the government and so on.

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What is the handloom industry?

India is known for its handloom industry. It requires artisanship to produce handloom and many times the whole family is involved in the family handloom business. However, do you know the length and breadth of the industry? This article elaborates on what a handloom industry is, an overview of the Indian handloom industry, examples of handlooms, schemes from the government and so on.

Examples of the handloom industry

As mentioned earlier, almost every Indian region specialises in a particular handloom product. Here is a list of handloom industries that flourished in various parts of the country.

State Product
Andhra Pradesh Kalamkari
Arunachal Pradesh Apatani textile
Assam Muga silk
Eri silk
Bihar (Cluster: Bhagalpur) Bhagalpuri silk
Chattisgarh Kosa silk
Goa Kunbi
Gujarat Bandhani
Haryana (Bighar Cluster) Panja Durries, home furnishings
Himachal Pradesh (Kullu) Kullu shawls
Jammu and Kashmir Pashmina silk (shawls and stoles), Raffal shawls,
Jharkhand Kuchai silk
Tussar silk
Karnataka Mysore silk
Kerala Kasavu
Madhya Pradesh Chanderi silk
Maharashtra (Cluster: Yeola) Paithani saree
Manipur Phanek
Meghalaya Mekhala
Nagaland Naga shawls
Odisha Sambalpuri cotton
Rajasthan Kota Doria, Jaipuri Quilts,
Punjab Phulkari
Sikkim Lepcha
Tamil Nadu (Kanchipuram region) Kanjeevaram or Kanchipuram silk
Telangana (Gadwal, Bhoodan Pochampally) Pochampalli Ikat
Gadwal cotton
Tripura Pachra
Uttar Pradesh (Clusters: Varanasi, Lucknow) Jacquard, Brocare, Chikankari
West Bengal Gargad sarees

The handloom industry involves the process of weaving and spinning by hand on a wooden structure known as a loom. Traditionally, it is a household industry and the whole family is involved in the operations. One of the unique features of the Indian handloom industry is knowledge and skills of weaving and hand-spinning are passed through generations. These artisans are usually based in villages and small towns.

Indian handloom industry is usually identified by hand-spinning, weaving and printing styles that are unique to the region. For example, the Yeola region in Maharashtra is known for Paithani sarees that feature unique peacock-style designs weaved in the finest silk. Likewise, each region in India has its unique product. One of the key features of the Indian handloom industry is its geographical diversity. For example, Banarasi silk is produced in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh while production of Kanchipuram silk is located in the Southern state of Tamil Nadu.

Handloom industry in India: Overview

The handloom industry in India has a rich heritage and some handloom businesses date back to 3000 BC. Today, handloom weaving is the key economic driver of the cottage industry.

According to Invest India, about 35 lakh people are directly or indirectly dependent on the handloom industry. The product line of the handloom industry includes sarees, shawls, bed linen, rugs, furnishings, and so on. Handloom products are exported globally.

Handloom exports: Insights

  • As per IBEF, handloom product exports stood at US$ 266.88 million in FY22.
  • Top importers of handloom are the USA, UK, Spain, Australia, Italy, Germany, France, South Africa and UAE.

How is the present government encouraging the handloom industry?

The government of India supports the handloom industry by implementing various schemes. Here are some of the popular schemes and initiatives launched by the government.

National Handloom Development Programme (NDHP)

The government has launched NHDP to foster the growth of the handloom industry in the country. It aims at supporting the artisans, Self-help groups, NGOs and other co-operative societies. The scheme supports procuring raw materials, marketing, design, technology upgrades and so on. On a larger perspective, the NDHP scheme helps generate employment opportunities and thereby improve the socio-economic status of the artisans.

Some key objectives of this scheme include:

  • Offering concessional credit to artisans.
  • Developing infrastructure and special projects including Indian Institutes of Handloom Technology (IIHT)-related projects
  • Development of handloom clusters
  • Enhancing existing infrastructure.
  • Deploying innovative technologies.
  • Assisting in marketing and promotions.
  • Enabling R&D projects and cluster development.

Comprehensive Handloom Cluster Development Scheme (CHCDS)

This scheme aims at developing mega handloom clusters with world class infastucrure. Each cluster must have 15,000 or more looms. The scheme provides funding for various needs including technology upgrades, product development, Common Facility Centre (CFC), Marketing Complex, Dye House and Corpus Fund for Yarn Depot and so on. This scheme is implemented in eight clusters that include: Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), Sivasagar (Assam), Virudhanagar (Tamil Nadu), Murshidabad (West Bengal), Prakasam & Guntur districts (Andhra Pradesh), Godda and neighbouring districts (Jharkhand), Bhagalpur (Bihar), and Trichy (Tamil Nadu).

Raw Material Supply Scheme (RMSS)

Earlier known as the Yarn Supply Scheme (YSS) was modified and renamed as the Raw Material Supply Scheme (RMSS). Key objectives of the scheme include:

  • Making quality yarns and blends available to handloom weavers at subsidised rates.
  • Setting up benchmark prices and yarn quality
  • Ensuring a consistent supply of quality yarns
  • Overcoming the poor dyeing facilities in the sector
  • Ensuring supply of dyed yarn by Implementing Agency (IA)

Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY)

Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) is also known as the Mudra loan scheme. Although the scheme is applicable for MSMEs at large, all kinds of artisans are also eligible for the scheme. Through the Mudra scheme artisans of handloom units can avail loan of up to ₹10 lakh. Some of the key benefits of the scheme include:

  • No collateral required
  • Zero processing charges
  • No minimum loan amount
  • Lower interest rate

Foreign direct investment (FDI)

The government has allowed 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in the textile and apparel industry including the handloom industry.

According to Invest India, the textiles and apparel industry attracted more than $4.07 billion in FDI from April 2000 – December 2022.

How to start and grow in the handloom business?

Here are some of the tips to start and grow a handloom business.

  • You can either have a loom or establish a retail business selling handloom products.
  • It is extremely important to conduct a SWOT analysis of the business. Analyse strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in detail before starting a business.
  • It is also important to increase your product knowledge about the operations, manufacturing processes, market trends, and so on.
  • Collaboration is necessary for all businesses. In the case of setting up a manufacturing unit, you can collaborate with dealers and retailers. On the other hand, if you are setting up a retail business, collaborate with several looms to add variety to your store.
  • Focus on marketing. Marketing is essential to reach out to your customers.
  • Always seek feedback from your customers. This can help you gain insights, understand changing customer behaviour and serve them better.


Swati Deshpande

Swati is a passionate content writer with more than 10 years of experience crafting content for the business and manufacturing sectors, and helping MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) navigate complexities in steel procurement, and business services. Her clear and informative writing empowers MSMEs to make informed decisions and thrive in the competitive landscape.