Cottage Industry is the Lifeline for Poor Villagers in India:
What is Cottage Industry:
It is a kind of specialized form of small scale industry where the production of commodity takes place in the surroundings of homes and the workers, the so called labors are supplied by the family members only. In general the machineries commonly used at homes, are utilized for the production of commodities. Basically it is a home made product unorganized and produced at home by the tradition of generation. The commodities of these industries are basically consumable products and that are being produced through the utilization of the traditional techniques. In the atmosphere of prevailing unemployment, people have no alternative but to go for home made small scale industries for the survival of livelihood. Thus a huge section of labor of large population is absorbed to stabilize the rural economy.
The Danger of Indian Cottage Industry: Now medium and large industries are growing at random in almost every state of India and Gujarat in particular. These are capital intensive in nature. This is because the large industries utilize all sorts of cost effective technologies by dint of which the cost of production remain at lower rate. On the other hand, the Cottage Industry is fundamentally labor intensive and utilizes traditional techniques in the manufacturing process which are not cost effective at all and that makes the production at higher cost. Thus today Cottage Industry in India faces the risk of extinction if they are not protected by the government by giving enough financial or other form of support to sustain.
Rise of Cottage Industry in England and Europe: There was a time when Cottage Industry sprang up across the European continent and in England in domestic cotton processing. It was started by Farm households with raw cotton material. The raw materials were distributed throughout the countryside by the travelling merchants. These were then clean and spin into yarn or thread. Again the merchant returned with new bundles of raw cotton, picking up the processed yarn. These were taken to another home where weaving produced cloth. In this way every individual family of every home became a partner in growing an enterprise – the Cotton Industry. Even today the term is applied to any industry.
Cottage Industry for Modern America: At present there is severe economic crisis in the US bringing much big business to a skeleton, many banks to the verge of liquidation and in net result abolition of jobs and increase in the number of unemployment. The conditions that are destroying the giant corporations and large-scale manufacturing industries may be opening the ways to profitable home-based and family-run business – the so called Cottage Industry to an extent not seen ever before for nearly a century in this country. A family farm is an income of self employed family as well as an income of the nation. Modern technology in America, and around the world, often requires work-at-home. These were the works of writers, reporters, designers, and manufacturers. These were very much a part of Cottage Industry. The mechanical parts, automobiles, airplanes, accessories of computers and many other products are designed, developed and built at home. Toys, books, furniture of all kinds and thousands of other products are being produced either in basements or in garages, of any private residences. All these are part of Cottage Industry. At present it may be a test of time for US citizens to revive America’s current economy by diverting attention to the home made product.
Cottage Industry is Essential for India: Cottage Industry preserves an enormous potential for employment generation. The person who is being employed feel proud of himself as he is basically regarded as a self-employed one. Cottage Industry has given economic independence to the women of India. India is a country of huge population. Most of the people are living in the villages. Cottage Industries support a large section of the population living in rural India. It is the traditional business of rural India that supports the rural economy. Big cities with big industries only support sections of educated and skilled technicians. Indigenous goods reflect the cultural heritage of India. The product of good quality can fairly compete with the foreign goods. Manufacturing of quality products involves those traditional artisans and craftsman who have inherited the art of work from their previous generations. Goods like dress fabrics such as Khadi, leather, silk, cotton, wool, muslin, etc, and others like ornaments, statues, idols, stones, gems, etc besides edible items like spices, oils, honey etc have a huge demand in India and in foreign markets as well. Since ancient times in India, indigenous products have been attracting foreign traders and merchants and that helped India in establishing trade relations with the Greek, Chinese and Arab merchants. During the period of medieval India, Indian traditional business flourished well under the rule of the Turk, Afghan and Mughal dynasties. But the Cottage Industry suffered a set back in India during the British period. Industrial revolution in the west brought a disaster to home-made Industries in India. However, the ‘Swadeshi’ and the ‘Boycott’ movements led by Gandhi in the independence movement of India helped in the demand of khadi and other Indian fabrics to a little extent.
Cottage Industry in India after Independence: India achieved her independence in 1947 and since then the leaders of India trying hard to improve the economic conditions of the country. It is most likely that the lack of administrative experience of a newly born country of large dimension that was formed by the union of smaller states after being left out by the British Emperor was the reason of failure of development till 1991. Untied Kingdom was a country of Industry unlike India. Most of the Indian leaders were influenced by the growth of the UK. As such their initial attempt was to improve the economy with the establishment of large industry. Many public sector steel industries have been established at the early stage of Independence neglecting the agriculture and cottage Industry. However, in the subsequent five year plan the rectification was incorporated. Since then, the small scale industries are run with a joint co-operation of the public and the private sectors. Now, almost in every state in India has its own set of cottage industries. The art and craft items of the region reflect the culture of that region. Many are self-employed in the manufacturing of cultural items and that have provided them with the means to earn their livelihood. On October2, 1993, the govt. of India has started the “Prime Minister’s Rozgar Yojana Scheme” for the educated but unemployed youth for providing them with self-employed ventures in Industries. The youths are now provided with the facilities of getting training in the government –approved institutions where they could learn the techniques of services and business, etc. The trained persons were also provided financial assistance for the initial expense in setting up an industry. Under the Tenth Five-year Plan, the areas are selected-these are Leather and leather products, Textiles and Readymade Garments, Gems and Jewellery, Pharmaceuticals, Information Technology, Bio-Technology, Automobile component and Food Processing. To flourish cottage Industries training facilities are now provided to Handloom Weavers, Spinning Industry, Power loom Industry, Garments Industry and similar like other industries for the benefits of common people.
China is a Competitor to India in Cottage Industry: China is like India a highly populated country who flourishing her cottage Industry by the utilization of the mass population in large scale production of rural product. China is now one of the fastest budding economies of the world. China supplies her products to all markets, all over the world. The items of the cottage industries of India do not find any buyers in India and abroad as well because of their high prices or because of availability of better quality goods elsewhere. China is a country of tough competitor to India in regard to Cottage Industry. Once, home-made clothes were made by the “Charkha” of Gandhi. Those days have gone, now the people get inspiration from the dresses used by Bollywood or their favorite pop-stars. The future of Indian textiles carries a big question mark. People prefer to eat olive oil to ghee and avoid pickles. People use allopath instead of Indian Ayurveda. Thus the herbal medicines and indigenous food items draw a lesser number of buyers. In consideration of all these, the Cottage Industry of India had to fight a better battle a head for survival.