NEW DELHI: After the all India handicrafts and handloom boards, the ministry of textiles has disbanded another advisory body — the All India Powerloom Board and notified a change in the status of all eight Textiles Research Associations (TRAs) — saying they now cease to be “affiliated bodies” of the ministry. The TRAs will now be “approved bodies” for conducting testing, research and developmental activities related to the textiles sector.
As per the gazette notification the decisions are cited to be in line — as was said in the case of the handicrafts and handloom boards — with the Centre’s “minimum government, maximum governance” principle. It is stated that the step reflects a vision for a “leaner government machinery and for systematic rationalisation of government bodies”.
The August 6 notification on the Textiles Research Associations states that from now on, “any disposal, sale, transfer of assets created out of central government grant will require prior specific approval of the ministry of textiles.” Also officials of the ministry in the governing bodies of these TRAs have been withdrawn. On the face of it, the move reduces government presence though any other changes in membership will need to be awaited. The TRAs have been asked to include in their bye-laws the changes that have been notified. The eight TRAs include Northern India TRA in Ghaziabad, Ahmedabad Textile Industry Research Association, Bombay TRA, Coimbatore-based South India TRA, Synthetic and Art Silk Mills Research Association in Mumbai, Man-made TRA in Surat, World Research Association in Thane and Kolkata-based Indian Jute Industries’ Research Association.
Earlier, the notification to abolish the All India Powerloom Board was issued on August 4. As per the ministry of textiles website, the board was first constituted as an advisory board in November, 1981. It was reconstituted for a period of two years in December 2013. It had representatives of central and state governments, Powerloom Federation, associations of power loom and textile industry as its members and was headed by the Union minister of textiles as chairperson.
According to government sources, the decision to disband the boards follows an assessment that they failed to impact policy-making and became vehicles of “political patronage” with the emergence of a ‘middleman culture’ that did not help the interests of weavers. Officials pointed out that the focus is now on field officers who have the responsibility to reach out to weavers and create links with district, state and central administrations.