by Shatika, January 12, 2016

“Karnataka was part of the historic Silk Route,” . “Our silk was used by the Roman empire.” Are comments of die hard lovers of Karnataka.  Silk – the queen of all fabrics is historically one of India’s most important industries. India produces a variety of silks called Mulberry, Tussar, Muga and Eri, based on the feeding habit of the cocoons. The sericulture industry today in India employs over 700,000 farm families and is mostly concentrated in Karnataka, Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh and to some extent Assam and West Bengal. Karnataka accounts for more than 70% of the country’s total silk production.


                           Silk industry occupies a unique position in India. Today Indian Sub Continent is the second largest silk manufacturer contributing to 18% of the total raw silk production. Sericulture is an important cottage industry in India. This is a labour intensive industry operating on around 54,000 villages all over the country.


The Indian Silk industry has shown significant growth both domestically and internationally fuelled by new innovations in the field. The ability of the industry to grow is combined with huge innovation opportunities coupled with the skills of the craftsmen. The Indian silk industry is an integral part of the Indian Textile Industry and is among the oldest industries in India. The silk industry in India engages around 60 lakh workers and it involves small and marginal farmers. India is the second largest producer of silk, taking care of about 18 percent of world production. But what is so remarkable is the fact that the requirement of raw silk in India is much higher than the current production. So there is considerable scope for increased production of raw silk in the country a way out of the conflict of interests between exporters and producers of silk raw silk. Today the Indian silk industry is already a major player in the global scenario and growth prospects for the sector appear to be bullish. Measures such as promoting further economic and technological research activities in various aspects of sericulture, standardisation and quality control of products from silk are needed. Rationalisation of the marketing and stabilisation of the prices of silk cocoons and raw silk could expand rapidly than ever.


As end users of this great textile. We would like new weaves to emerge and  the life of the craftsman  to become  better. This is the best we can do to contribute to our old tradition of silk. These craftsmen to be given equal status not just as a man on the loom but a professional status. A proper legitimate salary structure and job profile should be created by the government.



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