Murshidabad Silk Industry in West Bengal: A Study of Its Glorious Past & Present Crisis
18 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2019
Date Written: March 1, 2018
Murshidabad is the second largest traditional silk producing district in West Bengal, which bears a golden legacy of producing superlative silk in India since seventeenth century. Kassimbazar was one of the major hubs of silk purchase for the British silk merchants. The industry went into great decline as the Industrial Revolution in the West set in. In the post Independence period attempts were made to revive this home-based artisanal industry in India to expand employment and income opportunities in the rural economy. However, during 2002-2012, there was an exodus of more than 23 thousand silk farmers and 10 thousand silk weavers from the industry. This paper delves into issues related with income determinants of the household silk industry in Murshidabad. The primary data analysis exposes that ‘language efficiency’, ‘number of family members’, ‘ownership of bicycle/motorbike and television’, ‘male labour force’ and ‘women autonomy’ are positively influencing the income of the silk producing households, while the significant factors which inversely influences the level of annual income of the silk producing households are ‘age of the household head’, ‘female workers’, ‘cost of production’, ‘male family members’, ‘morbidity of female’ and ‘expenditure autonomy of female in the family’. The government should adopt pro-active measures like subsidizing the cost of silk weavers, revamp the health insurance scheme of the silk manufacturing women and increase the language efficiency to enhance the silk manufacturers’ income earning capacity. The government should also raise the level of sanitation facility of the silk reelers and weavers and communication goods like bicycle, television to be provided.
Keywords: silk industry, sericulture, Murshidabad, weavers, household income
JEL Classification: I32, J21, O13, R20
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