The 400 year old Indian carpet industry currently supports the livelihoods of about 2 million households, directly or indirectly. CEPC has been taking concerted efforts coupled with many other simultaneous initiatives taken by the Government and various international agencies to help eradicate the problems of child labor from the Indian carpet industry and also alleviate the status of weavers and carpet artisans by undertaking various welfare activities.
|SCHOOL & MEDICAL CARE FOR WEAVER FAMILIES||REGISTRATION OF LOOMS||“KALEEN” THE HALLMARK OF COMMITMENT||
REGISTRATION OF LOOMS
One of the most prominent concerns that has plagued the industry is the alleged employment of child labor in carpet weaving activities. ‘Child labor’ as such, is a complex phenomenon borne out of the vicious cycle of abject poverty. CEPC stands committed to eliminate illegal child labor in the carpet weaving sector. To address the problem of child labor, CEPC has undertaken significant self-regulating initiatives, both on its own and in cooperation with the Government of India. The Council has made it a primary goal to seek the eradication of child labour in India and continues to make steady and significant progress toward full achievement of that important goal.
CEPC Formulated a Code of Conduct whereby it was mandatory for all its members to adhere to a Code of Conduct, which prohibits the use of child labour, unregistered looms and the sale or trading of such products, which are made with the use of child labour. The CEPC initiated the exercise of Registration of Looms in which the owners of the looms furnish an affidavit that they do not and will not employ child labour. To create demand for the registration of looms, the CEPC formulated a strategy whereby only the registered looms get the weaving orders through its member-exporters. CEPC also initiated the exercise of random inspections of the registered looms for verifying the veracity of their legal undertakings for not employing child labour. It engaged an independent professional body for random inspection of these looms to detect the use of child labour, if any, and initiate strict action against erring looms. The Academy of Management Studies (AMS), Lucknow (U.P.) which is a research based professional organization carrying out similar responsibilities for UNICEF, The World Bank, USAID, UNDP and others was engaged to conduct these inspections.
SCHOOL & MEDICAL CARE FOR WEAVER FAMILIES
The Council undertakes various welfare measures aimed at alleviating the status of weavers and carpet artisans. Over the years the Council has been assisting the families achieve educational access for their children through its Weavers Welfare Fund, created through contributions of its members. This fund is used for welfare activities for children in carpet weaving villages. These activities include a provision of free education including a mid-day meal, free text books, school bag, school dress, shoes and socks, vocational training for children and an assured monthly stipend of Rs. 150/- per month to encourage children to attend school and medical care for weaver families. The Council has provided Non-Formal Education (NFE) to over 5000 children in the craft concentration areas of Eastern Uttar Pradesh which accounts for nearly three-fourth of the total carpet production in the country through 109 Schools, since 1996 from its own funds.
“KALEEN” THE HALLMARK OF COMMITMENT
Indian carpet industry took a historic decision to introduce “KALEEN, The Hallmark of Commitment” label for all handmade carpets, druggets, dhuries etc. excepting sizes up to 60 cm X 90 cm, signifying that the user of “KALEEN” label is abiding by the Code of Conduct adopted by the Carpet Export Promotion Council for the eradication of child labor. The Indian Carpet Industry has also decided to contribute a part of their export earnings w.e.f 1.4.95 to a weavers’ welfare fund for Welfare of the weaver community, Education of the children with Mid-day meal, Medicare of the weaver families and Vocational training of the children with assured stipend.
MAIDEN CARBON FOOTPRINT STUDY
CEPC is one of the first to take initiative to get a maiden study done to assess the carbon footprint of carpet industry. The sole objective of the assessment was to bring to light product carbon footprint for three major Indian handmade carpets namely tufted carpets, hand woven carpets and hand knotted carpets. The study was conducted for a sample size of 13 units or carpet making facilities or carpet exporters spread over 7 locations in India namely Jaipur, Agra, Panipat, Bhadohi, Varanasi, Mirzapur and Srinagar.