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Implementing Agency

Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship

About Cluster :

The handloom industry has been playing a pivotal role in the economy of Manipur since time immemorial. The traditional skill of handloom weaving is not only a matter of status symbol the women folk in the state, but also is an indispensable aspect of their socio-economic life. It is by far the largest and the most important cottage industry in the state. Apart from cultivation/agriculture, handloom weaving provides the highest employment to the women folk of the state. During course of development path of the industry, many changes took place resulting out of various factors. Such paradigm are discussed under 3 phases i.e. 1st phase (Before 1960 AD), 2nd phase (1961 to 1980 AD) and 3rd phase (1981 onwards).

The Imphal city is mainly divided into Imphal East and Imphal west, one separated from other by River Imphal. Imphal East District with a population of 394875 and a household of 69182 is located in the heart of the capital city of Imphal. The district has the highest concentration of weavers. Manipur boast of having 339632 numbers of weavers out of this 91820 weavers are located in Imphal East district. This is a share of 27.04% of the total weaver‘s population of the state. One of the notable features of Manipur Handloom industry is that entire workforce is women. This implies that every other woman in the Imphal East is involved with handloom in one way or the other. The women are found to be involved in weaving, dyeing, bleaching and also trading of finished products and yarn. This is a natural cluster of handloom it owes it origin to the inherent need of the people of Manipur to cloth themselves. It is a nature of the tribal societies to identify themselves from the rest which leads them to showcase different ethnic designs and motifs in their attire also. This makes the cluster more vibrant and colourful in their creations. It is observed that in many part of India the traditional art, craft and attire are loosing their hold, however Manipuri society is very traditional in it approach though it has accepted many modern values- the younger generation also value the use of their traditional handloom products which also set it apart from many of the other handloom clusters. It enjoys a strong patronage of it local population. The advantages of the cluster is the presence of skilled and expert weavers, craftsman and it proximity to the market. The well known all women market locally called “Ima Bazar” is at a distance of 3km from the centre of the cluster. This makes the cluster yet more favourable. In the Imphal East- the weavers are mainly concentrated in 5 areas namely Wangkhei,Kongba,Khundrakpam,Khurai Kongpal.

However out of these five areas Wangkhei and Kongba have the highest density of weavers and other service providers. Wangkhei and Kongba both are located im the Keirao Bittra Development block I and are contiguous. Apart from this Wangkhei and Kongba are also on the priority list because of its unique weaving patterns and designs. Thus we have chosen Wangkhei and Kongba based on its legacy, viability, close proximity to market and concentration of skilled manpower.