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Brand ‘Handmade in Rajasthan’, was right dream: CM Raje

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Jaipur: Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje hopes the ongoing Rajasthan Heritage Week (RHW), aimed at boosting the ‘Handmade in Rajasthan’ brand, scales the global popularity of the Jaipur Literature Fest (JLF).

Like the literary fest which brings national and international names from the literary world to the Pink City, RHW has attracted some foreign names like Bangladeshi designer Bibi Russell, Sri Lanka-based designer Ajai Vir Singh and Lars Andersson all the way from New York.

To a question by IANS on the idea behind amalgamating foreign sensibilities with that of the weavers, Raje said: “Like we have the Literature Festival… Look at how it started and where it is today.

“It is a globally well-known festival. We hope that the same way… ‘Handmade In Rajasthan’ goes to those heights.”

Raje, who attended the opening day showcase of a line-up of designers was happy to see how the vibrancy of her state’s colours; weaves like Kota and Khadi; as well as techniques like bandhej and leheriya, were interspersed with modern as well as traditional silhouettes to appeal to people of different generations.

She is especially happy for the weavers.

“There is talent in the hands of these weavers. If they work like this, they won’t just earn their bread and butter, but they will also be able to make a mark for themselves.

“It is with this dream that in 2006, we brought Bibi Russell. I am very glad to see that after her, people like Prasad Bidapa, Rajeev Sethi, Rohit Bal and others are present here to encourage us.

“It means the dream was a right dream. I am very glad that the youth of Rajasthan is enjoying the creations,” Raje added.

At the three-day RHW — a part of a textile development programme for traditional textile weavers of the state — there’s a melange of designers and seven award-winning weavers, who are showcasing their works.

From names like Ritu Kumar, Puja Arya, Hemant Trivedi and Abraham & Thakore to young talents like Pallavi Jaipur and the team behind women’s formal wear brand Kaaryah, there’s a variety of designs catering to men and women who like a nouveau touch to age-old techniques.

The event, which started on Thursday and will conclude on Saturday, also has a crafts market to attract fashion and style aficionados.

(Radhika Bhirani, IANS)

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PM Narendra Modi Launches Plan to Tackle Water Shortage in India

Modi Unveils Plan to Tackle Water Shortages in India's Heartland States

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PM Modi
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks to the media inside the parliament premises on the first day of the winter session in New Delhi, India. VOA

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday launched a 60-billion-rupee ($842 million) plan to tackle water shortages in the country’s seven heartland states where agriculture is a mainstay.

India, the world’s second-most populous country, faces the worst long-term water crisis in its history as demand outstrips supply, threatening farm output and overall economic growth in Asia’s third-largest economy.

Almost every sector of the $2.6 trillion economy is dependent on water, especially agriculture, which sustains two-thirds of India’s 1.3 billion people.

“Water shortages in the country not only affect individuals and families; the crisis also has an effect on India’s development,” Modi said. “We need to prepare the new India to deal with every single aspect of the crisis.”

The plan launched by Modi would help replenish ground water and boost overall availability in Rajasthan, Karnataka, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat states, which produce staples such as rice, wheat, sugar and oilseeds.

PM Narendra Modi
The plan launched by Modi would help replenish ground water. Wikimedia Commons

India is the world’s leading producer of an array of farm goods, and nearly 60% of the irrigation for agriculture comes from ground water, mainly through electric water pumps. Subsidised electricity gives farmers an incentive to pump out more water, a key reason behind fast-depleting water tables in the vast country.

Supplying clean drinking water to millions of poor people and reviving moribund irrigation projects were a key part of Modi’s policies for India, where the monsoon accounts for nearly 70% of the annual rains needed to water farms and recharge aquifers and reservoirs.

Nearly half of India’s farmland, without any irrigation cover, depends on annual June-September rains to grow a number of crops.

Drinking water is also an issue, as about 200,000 Indians die every year due to inadequate access to safe water and 600 million face high to extreme water stress, according to the National Institute for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog, a think tank chaired by Modi.

According to UK-based charity WaterAid, about 163 million people in India — roughly 12% of the population — do not have access to clean water close to home.

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Every summer water shortages tend to be more acute in large cities such as the capital New Delhi, Chennai — a car-making center dubbed “India’s Detroit”, and Bengaluru, the country’s software capital.

Modi also exhorted farmers to increasingly adopt drip and sprinkler irrigation and use water-management techniques as well as eschewing water-guzzling crops such as rice and sugar cane. (VOA)