Cottage Industries in India: Necessity, Impact, Advantages, Disadvantages, and Solution essay

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Cottage Industries in India: Necessity, Impact, Advantages, Disadvantages, and Solution


Cottage Industries in India

Introduction: In the modern industrialized world, there are large factories and mills with huge machines, smoking chimneys and hundreds and thousands of laborers.

The present condition of cottage industries in not very good. However, there are few people who thinks that every effort should be made to revive them.

The giant factories were unknown in ancient times when the only industries were the cottage industries, where men worked mainly with the hand.

Comparison between Cottage industries and Large mechanized industries: Cottage industries cannot produce large quantities of a thing, and production here is not only small but slow. A cloth mill will produce hundreds of bales of cloth in a short time but a weaver will take long to weave a single piece of cloth. Large industries produce things quickly and cheaply so that the competition of cottage industries and large industries is just like the competition between a man who walks on foot and one who goes by a train. That is why cottage industries are being pushed out of existence, and this, say the industrialists, is just in the fitness of things.

India is gradually establishing large industries, but these large industries have many by-products and with these it is possible to carry on small cottage industries. For example, carpet-making is done with waste products of jute mills and cotton mills, and in this way useful cottage industries can grow around our large industrial ventures.

List of Principal Cottage Industries in India

The principal cottage industries of India are:

  1. Hand-loom weaving (cotton, silk, jute, etc.)
  2. Pottery
  3. Washing soap making
  4. Conch shell industry
  5. Handmade paper industry
  6. Horn button industry
  7. Mother-of-pearl button industry
  8. Cutlery industry
  9. Lock and key making

The necessity of Cottage Industries in India

We depend on cottage industries for many of its needs. We get our clothing from mills but we have to depend on cottage industries for our bell-metal things, for our bangles and buttons. If we allow the cottage industries to decay, we shall do so at considerable loss to ourselves.

From yet other point of view cottage industries are a necessity to India, and they shall be so until the very structure of society is changed. The centre of Indian life is in the villages. It is in the villages that the majority of the people live, but it is not possible to establish large industries at many places. So, if the village population has to live, it will have to depend a good deal on cottage industries, on the things that villagers can produce in their homes with their hands or with simple tools that are readily available. It will give them employment and save their society from decay.

Impact of Cottage Industries

Impact on Economy: These are all economic, practical arguments, and it may seem that cottage industries will not lose their importance so long as large industries have not been fully established. However, there are deeper arguments, too, and it is these deeper arguments that swayed Mahatma Gandhi when he worked for the revival of cottage industries. He thought that cottage industries should not merely supplement large industries, they should replace them.

Impact on Rural Economy: The Indian agriculturist who has difficulty in making two ends meet will get an additional support if he can take to cottage industries when he is not employed in his major occupation. Agriculture does not employ a cultivator all the year round. For many months the peasant has no work. If during this period he engages himself in simple cottage industries like basket-work or rope-making, he can earn more for his living.

It will take a long time for India to fully industrialize herself. The nerve-centre of India is in the villages and she will require cottage industries. And even if large industries are established, cottage industries will not die out; rather they will grow up as off-shoots of large industries.

Impact on Society: Cottage industries are desirable, not only from the moral and aesthetic points of view, but also from the point of view of society. In the cottages the worker is not cut off from his family; rather he works amongst his own people and with their help. This increases his attachment to the family and develops his better sentiments. He is a man and not a hand.

It must also be remembered that it is the large-scale industries that have created a wide gap between capital and labor. They tend to concentrate wealth in the hands of a few wealthy men, nowadays called industrial magnates, and the ordinary worker is doubly a slave – slave to the machine and to the master who owns the machine. Cottage industries scatter the wealth all over the country and help to do away with the artificial distinction between the few inordinately rich and the vast majority that are poor. From this point of view cottage industries may be said to be great socializing force.

Possibilities of Cottage Industries

Although due to competition from large-scale manufacturing industries and certain organizational defects, the cottage industries has received a blow, its possibilities remain very promising.

Advantages

The cottage industry has certain advantages, which indicate its future possibilities.

  1. All the members of the family can carry on the cottage industry. Each one of them doing a part of the entire process that is assigned to them. The can carry out the production jointly.
  2. Since it is carried on in homes, the peace and quiet of home life can be fully enjoyed, and
  3. The evils of industrial cities can be avoided in a system of cottage industries. These advantages certainly go in favor of handloom cotton weaving industry.
  4. The chief advantage of handloom industry over power weaving is that handloom products can be more artistic than machine made goods. Standardized fabrics are manufactured at mills. However, in handloom and cottage industries, there is immense scope for individual artistic designs.

Disadvantages

The organization of the cottage industry is defective in many respects. The weavers, being poor are entirely dependent on the financial loans for their raw materials and for marketing their finished products.

Remedies (Solutions)

The following remedies / solutions are suggested to improve the prospects of the cottage industry:

  1. There should be facility for adequate finance and marketing facilities for small scale and cottage industry owners. They should be first rescued from the clutches of the unregulated lenders.
  2. Co-operative Societies among the weavers should be encouraged so that through them, the poor may have supplies of raw materials and have their finished products disposed off.
  3. Arrangements should be made for providing the weavers with new designs of cloth in keeping with the changing requirements of the people.
  4. Better devices and labor saving machineries should be introduced, so that the cottage industries may compete with mills and factories.

Conclusion

Cottage industries have, therefore, many positive merits. Large-Scale industries, however, seem to be irresistible. We should try to make these two forms of industry grow side by side so that the defects of each may be set off by the advantages of the other. India, at least, needs both her simple cottage industries as well as her giant mills and factories.

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