Socio-economic and structural analysis of cottage industry workers : a case study from a remote area of Assam, India

Nazneen Akhtar


Cottage industry, particularly handloom sector, one of the largest manufacturing sub-sectors of agrarian Assam, provides livelihood to a large section of rural population. In the predominantly agrarian economy plagued by under industrialization, rising unemployment and a greatly reduced availability of land, weaving silk and handicraft production provide the main opportunity for the generation of additional income to a large section of the rural folk.

Thus, these village industries, the most prominent and widespread of which is weaving, afford what seems to be the only scope for self- employment for many in rural folk in Assam. Indeed, handloom weaving plays a very vital role in the rural economy of Assam. The general aim of the present paper is to explore the social, economic and working conditions of the weavers of Sualkuchi in particular and the problems they are facing. The present work is based on empirical study. The study is based on primary data, collected through field survey by direct questionnaire to the respondents, during the 1st week of January, 2012. Simple percentage method, bar and wheel diagrams have been used to analyze the data. After an overall analysis it may be concluded that there are several problems that beset the workers like lack of capital and credit facilities, poor working conditions, non-availability of raw material, poor implementation of Govt. schemes etc.


Cottage industry; handloom; silk-weaving; socio-economic problems

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Published by Centre for Environment, Education and Economic Development (CEEED), Assam.