Pashmina Shawls

  • IASbaba
  • November 12, 2022
  • 0
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In news: Traders of universally-prized Pashmina shawls are complaining that “obsolete testing methods” such as ‘Light Microscopy’ have resulted in several cases of ‘false positive’ for presence of ‘Shahtoosh’ guard hair.

  • This has led to their export consignments being flagged and wrongful prosecution.
  • Pashmina Exporters and Manufacturers Association have moved a petition before the Delhi High Court, for a direction to improve the existing testing infrastructure by incorporating the modern ‘Scanning Electron Miscrospcopic’ technique and DNA tests.
  • In 2019, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) published an Indian Standard for identification, marking and labelling of Pashmina products to certify their purity.
  • In 2021, the BIS released a revised report titled ‘Identification, Labelling and Marking of Pashmina Products’ that mandated directions for incorporating qualitative and quantitative identification of Shahtoosh guard hair.

About Pashmina:

  • Pashmina is obtained from breeds of mountain goats (capra hircus) found in the Changthang Plateau in Tibet and parts of Ladakh, in the Himalayan region of India.
  • Manufacture of Pashmina is a largely unorganised cottage/handicraft industry providing employment and livelihood to approximately 6 lakh people, most notably to local skilled villagers and artisans in Kashmir.
  • Shahtoosh is the fine undercoat fibre obtained from the Tibetan Antelope, known locally as ‘Chiru’, a species living mainly in the northern parts of the Changthang Plateau in Tibet.
  • As they offer high levels of smoothness and warmth, Shahtoosh shawls became a highly expensive commodity.
  • Unfortunately, due to commercial poaching of the animal, their population declined dramatically.
  • Tibetan Antelope
  • Appendix 1 of CITES (included in 1979) leading to prohibition in sale and trade of Shahtoosh shawls and scarves.
  • IUCN: near threatened
  • Schedule I of the India’s Wildlife (Protection) Act
  • India contributes only about 1% of the world’s Pashmina, but the Pashmina produced in India is considered the best of the lot and occupies a unique position.

Source: The Hindu


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