The Department of Handlooms and Textiles was set up during 1991-92 in the state of Karnataka. The main objective to set up an exclusive Department
for Handlooms and Textiles was to promote investment in MSME and Large industries sector and to facilitate traditional handloom and power loom weavers.
Karnataka is known for silk and traditional weaving. Karnataka is the largest producer of mulbary silk in the country with a share of about 65%. Similarly the state also grows abundant cotton and produces 20 lakh bales of cotton annually. The traditional weaving in Karnataka dates back to 8th century. Ilkal sarees from north Karnataka are being woven since then and retained it’s glory even today. Many varieties of sarees have obtained Geographical Indication (GI) namely Ilkal Sarees, Mysore Silk Sarees, Udupi Cotton Sarees and Karnataka Kasuti Sarees. At present there are about 40000 handloom weavers and 120000 powerlooms.
Karnataka is also a pioneer in Modern textiles. First such plants were MSK Mill in Kalburgi set up in 1885, Gokak Forbs set up in 1886 among others. Today Karnataka is home to the world’s biggest spinning unit under one roof i.e M/S Himatsingkasiede with 2.11 lakh spindles. Similarly Karnataka is the Garment capital of the country which accounts for 20% of garments production of the country. The largest employer in RMG sector M/S Shahi Exports has provided employment to the tune of 1 lakh people, mainly women in Karnataka. The State is also an ideal destination for investments in Technical Textile sector.