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Budget 2022

Union Budget 2022: Government support is necessary for weavers to bounce back

Challenges, problems, and solution 
The pandemic has drastically affected the weaving community and we have seen a lot of dropouts from the community where weavers have started taking odd jobs to survive. As a brand, we are working hard towards retaining them in the industry. Consumers, on the other hand, have embraced online shopping and we have seen an increase in video shopping, online shopping as well as a rise in social media engagement.

As stores were shut often, a lot of small businesses have switched to e-commerce to connect with their customers. This adaptation has reduced geographic barriers and is now connecting businesses with consumers globally.

Strategies that worked in favour 

As a brand, our USP is that each saree is personally handpicked by a member of the Kankatala family. While we have retained that, we have increased the inventory of our handpicked sarees online from 1000 sarees in 2019 to 2500 unique handloom sarees by 2021. We have increased our focus on social media and have engaged influencers to talk about our sarees. We also strengthened our video shopping experience.

Expectations from Government & Budget

We sincerely hope that the government doesn’t increase the GST from 5% to 12% on textiles. It would have a major impact on the sector and the lakhs dependent on the weaving community. We also hope that the government introduces relief packages for the weavers as they are working relentlessly for generations to keep the art of weaving alive that India is known for. The consumer enthusiasm just before the 3rd wave was delightful. We opened 3 stores in the last quarter of 2021 foraying 2 new geographies including New Delhi and Bengaluru. We are seeing that the industry is focussing on retail footprint along with digital footprint and brands are evolving towards becoming omnichannel to ensure the consumer receives a seamless and uniform experience online and offline. Once the third wave passes, we are expecting pent-up demand which will cover up for the drop in sales of this quarter. As per the surveys, we are in the last phase of the pandemic which means that we are soon expecting an economic revival for the industry. We hope the govt. creates a special budget to help promote weavers and show there is government support so the next generation can join the parents to be weavers and help protect our handloom industry.

The hike in GST will definitely not help the handloom industry. While the government does put in attempts to skill the labour force of India, we hope that in coming years the government provides more support to the weavers to bounce back from the impact of the pandemic. Strong weavers will lead to a stronger handloom sector. The make in India initiatives have supported the sector in reviving consumer interest towards the sector, however, the sector can benefit from more reformative policies.  

Exciting trend 
One of the most exciting trends we have been seeing is a lot of the younger generation are opting to wear sarees for festivals and occasions. This would be a huge boon to the handloom and sarees industry.

Penned By:
Anirudh Kankatala, Director, Kankatala Sarees

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Divya Khanna is the youngest member of the team, with a background in political science. She has joined High on persona print magazine in order to gain hands-on experience in various aspects of editorial coordination as associate editor of the magazine and news site. She has a penchant for writing and enjoys meeting new people and interviewing celebrities. She has a passion for writing, she has an eye for details, loves traveling, and a quick learner. She comes from the Mecca of Indian Journalism, Delhi.
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