Kamaladevi Chattopadhya National Awards

Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani announced ‘Kamaladevi Chattopadhya National Awards’, a new category of awards specially for women handloom weavers and women handicraft artisans. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay was an Indian social reformer and freedom fighter.

These awards are being instituted from this year, so that women weavers and artisans receive due recognition and economic benefits associated with the Awards. Only one woman has so far received the Sant Kabir Award.

The Minister also launched a special campaign to provide MUDRA Loans to women handloom weavers across the country.

Ms Irani also launched a national campaign to eliminate the exploitative and unhygienic practice of thigh reeling in India (thigh reeling of tasar silk is usually practiced by marginal women entrepreneurs, working every day in their homes during spare time). 30 per cent of the tasar silk produced in India is through the practice of thigh reeling.

In order to put an end to this unhygienic and inhuman practice, the Ministry is starting the distribution of woman-friendly Buniyaad Reeling Machines to woman silk reelers. Developed by Central Silk Technological Research Institute that falls under the aegis of Central Silk Board (CSB), Ministry of Textiles, the Buniyaad machine not only reduces the drudgery involved in thigh reeling, but also improves productivity and income.