Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday urged the students of textile, leather and design to remember the country’s rich heritage in producing designs that are widely admired and also sustainable.

Speaking at an interactive session with students of institutes like NIFT here, she highlighted the traditional uniqueness and vibrancy of design of the country’s weavers who used different kinds of materials and fabrics.

“So, my very humble appeal for all students in design, be it in textile, be it in leather, I wish we look at the richness that India’s tradition has offered in every walk of our life with fantastic, usable and now so fashionable, sustainable design, using sustainable materials,” she said.

“Those of us who want to grow into design area should actually learn more about the designs which India has produced using various sustainable methods and go back to it rather than search for newer materials, please restore those materials which have been very sustainable,” she said.

Above all, design is not limited to just fashion wear but is also for ease of living, she said.

“Use such materials which suit the environment we live in,” she said.

The artisans can be empowered by buying more of the products made by them, she said.

Sitharaman was replying to a query on how the handloom and handicraft industry can be empowered.

Addressing a gathering later, she recalled Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation from the Red Fort outlining his ‘Panch Pran’ (five resolves) target to make India a developed nation by 2047.

She said the principles which in substance, all five taken together, speak about remembering the rich cultural heritage and equally importantly, discarding what the countrymen have been inheriting by the presence of an imperial ruler.

“So, that in itself tells us, particularly for the young minds like yours, in these institutions, the spirit of what has got to govern the next 25 years will have to come from this message of the Prime Minister. Remember the rich legacy, the past. India’s own contribution to the globe…,” she said.

She also said the institutions like the National Institute of Design (NID) should widen their area of activity to look at other areas where design would be of commercial use as well.

The Minister suggested that institutions like Indian Institute of Packaging should seek cooperation with industry to expand and strengthen their work. She was speaking at an interaction with students, faculty and alumni of Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), National Institute of Design (NID) and others here.

The theme of the interaction was ‘A Talk on Digitalisation, Innovation & Entrepreneurship – Pillars of Indian Economic Growth’. Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs and Food and Public Distribution and Textiles Piyush Goyal was also present on the occasion.

By Shadab

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