Cottage industries have always existed in our country but they were not developed to their full capacity during the colonial rule. The members of a family from within their homes usually run these units. Items like leather-goods, baskets, toys, ropes etc. are usually the products of the cottage industries. However spinning and weaving cloth is the main cottage industry of our country. Cottage industries serve to provide farmers with an additional income.
Cottage industries do not use big machines, electric power and horrid labour. Nor there is the question of the exploitation of workers. The workers and his family being both the employees and the employers they, get all the earning from their business. Thus they are good means for providing part time employment. The farmers carry on their cottage industries side by side with their main occupation of agriculture.
It has been often seen that in large scale industries, corruption becomes rampant. Women and children, who get employed in these big industries, are often exploited by their employers. Cottage industries, which are usually run on a small scale, are free from these problems. Since these industries are mostly centralised to the homes of the workers, hence social ills do not flourish in any form.
The workers enjoy freedom. Though they maintain a daily routine, but there is no rigidity. They can begin and stop their work according to their convenience.
In a country like India where unemployment and poverty are serious problems, cottage industries play a significant role in lessening the gravity of these problems. It was therefore Mahatma Gandhi laid emphasis on reviving the dying cottage industries. Since independence of the country, the government too has been making all possible efforts in this direction.
But there are several difficulties in the way of cottage industries. They fail to compete with large scale industries. The products of the cottage industries are the result of the worker's hard labour. Hence, their price always remains high in comparison with the goods made in factories. The workers in cottage industries are generally poor.
Sometimes they do not get sufficient raw materials as well as necessary tools out of poverty. Thus, their work is hindered and they do not utilize their potentialities. In such circumstances, it is essential that they should be provided facilities for marketing finished goods. Credit facilities should also be provided to them so that the poor workers may buy raw materials and tools for the purpose.
Cottage industries can flourish to a large extent even in this age of new machines if they adopt modern lines. Exhibitions should be held time to. Time so that the goods Manufactured by the cottage industries may get wonderful sale. This will surely encourage our workers who do hard labour for us.
Our government has always given due importance to the cottage industries. A large sum has always been allotted for their development in the various five year plans of the country. As a result we have achieved much progress in this regard. Still much more is needed to be done.