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Hyderabad: Telangana Government’s decision to extend insurance coverage to handloom and powerloom weavers under Nethanna Bima Scheme is being welcomed by weavers in other States. A few opined that the scheme would set a new benchmark for other States in ensuring the welfare of weavers.

The State Government has issued orders to extend insurance coverage of Rs 5 lakh for weavers under the Nethanna Bima Scheme on par with farmers Rythu Bima insurance scheme. The Cabinet Sub Committee had proposed to cover 55,072 handloom and powerloom and ancillary weavers in the State. The insurance coverage would be extended to weavers in the age group of 18 to 59 years.

The proposed premium is expected to be Rs.5,426 and the budget requirement would be Rs.29.88 crore. The insurance benefits would be extended to the family of the death of weaver or ancillary worker. The scheme is likely to be launched next month. The department has been directed to prepare draft guidelines and submit to the government for implementation of the scheme, said a senior official from the Handlooms department.

Even as the scheme guidelines are being drafted, weavers in other States are welcoming the Telangana Government’s decision to extend insurance coverage. Undoubtedly, Telangana was setting a new benchmark for other States in ensuring weavers welfare. With the implementation of Nethanna Bima Scheme, the confidence levels of weavers would boost further, Praveen Patolawala, a weaver from Ahmedabad told to Telangana Today.

“The good thing about Telangana’s Nethanna Bima Scheme is weavers get an insurance coverage of Rs.5 lakh, which is substantial,” Praveen Patolawala said.

Telangana Government’s decision to extend insurance coverage was commendable. It would now make other States to replicate the scheme, if they strive for welfare of weavers, Kancheepuram District Padmashali Sangham president SG Arumugam said. “Apart from weavers, ancillary workers are also being extended insurance coverage, which is a good decision,” he said.

Akhila Bharatha Padmashali Sangham Chairman Y Venkanna Netha hailed the State Government’s Nethanna Bima Scheme and said this would be another feather in Telangana’s cap. “Already weavers from other States are calling us and seeking details of the scheme,” he said.

Under Chenetha Mithra, Telangana extends 40 per cent subsidy on yarn and raw materials for master weavers and handloom workers. Other State Governments extend about 10 per cent subsidy, he said. Though, the Central Government had abolished extending its four per cent share in the thrift scheme for weavers, State Government continues to extend 16 per cent share, he explained.

While, State Government was initiating many measures for weaver welfare, Central Government was not extending similar support. In the latest budget, Rs.12,000 crore was allocated for textiles sector and of these, only Rs.300 crore was allocated for handloom weavers, he pointed out. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi sports colourful handloom garments but nothing much is being done to make the weavers lives colourful,” said Venkanna Netha.

Suggestions from weavers for guidelines

– Extend the age limit for insurance coverage beyond 59 years

– Insurance coverage should be extended to cooperative societies managers, technical assistants, designers, employees as well

– Government should ensure renewal of policy annually as weavers fail to maintain the due dates and payments

– Provision of medical insurance and pensions as weavers health deteriorates early due to extensive physical work



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Author: Howard Caldwell