Once seen in abundance at houses of small towns and big cities, the cottage industry gradually diminished leaving thousands self employed as jobless making them earning hands for others instead of running their own business. Small units meant for earning living by lower middle class in cities like Lahore, Karachi, Hyderabad, Faisalabad, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Multan, Peshawar and Quetta had to gradually shut down with the advent of big industries and multi-nationals. Considered as the backbone for economy of any country, the big modern technology machines gradually ate up the traditional small scale manufacturing of goods that were meeting the demand of poor segments of society. Self-explanatory in its essence as it used to confine to small houses, this industry was being run by skilled males or females at very small scale by installing hand looms or starting sewing web with only a sewing machine. “During good old days even people with low income could start their own business by employing cottage industry modes,” said Zahid Aslam, former President of Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI). “Once this industry used to produce valuable items like carpets, leather goods, handicrafts, jewelry, surgical instruments, woodwork and daily use items like pottery, sports good, ceramics, cutlery and number of hosiery products,” he said and regretted now the big machines have engulfed these small production units. Underlining the importance of cottage industry, Zahid said, it was the most convenient way of earning for the people with low income. “It can still be an easy mode of earning and arresting increasing rural poverty and unemployment besides discouraging mass movement of people to urban areas.” “We must encourage sustainable models of cottage industry at grassroots with necessary paraphernalia and incentives enabling the coming generation to self-employ instead of running after jobs,” he recommended. Ghulam Muhammad Abad settlement in Faisalabad was once called the Asia’s biggest hub of cottage industry. The people migrated from India had established hand looms within rooms of their houses not only to cater for their own needs but also provide cheaper goods to communities. These hand looms and small machines producing variety of goods were gradually replaced with power looms during 1960s and 1970s and thereon with modern machinery. But, this evolution process in Faisalabad gradually erased the most important component of small scale earning. Although, the cottage industry survived to some extent in Gujranwala, Wazirabad and Sialkot, its overall patronage and growth in other parts of country stalled especially in textile sector. Besides male members of the family, the cottage industry also provides opportunities of respectable earning for the females members in a homely environment. “Women constitute 50 percent of our population and could play an important role in economic progress if provided congenial atmosphere and sufficient funding to set up small businesses,” said Ms. Robina Amjad President Faisalabad Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FWCCI). She said when a girl completes her education, she is married to someone and her in-laws confine her to house premises. “If these talented girls are provided opportunity to establish cottage industry, it would be beneficial for both the girl and the family.” “If they are self-employed through cottage industry within their house premises, it would also not be shameful for those who take the women employment as a taboo,” she added. She called upon the government to focus on promotion of this sector in urban as well as rural areas, making the female component to also play their active role in economic revival and nation building. She also proposed to train local and under educated people for running the cottage industry through Technical Education & Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA) and National Vocational & Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC). Women in rural areas can be engaged in small scale production of daily use items like pickle, jam, jelly besides sewing, knitting and weaving on small machines. It may provide cheaper goods to local consumers and the money minted by big chains and multi-nationals will go into hands of lower middle class. Waheed Khaliq Ramay of Council of Looms Owners Association (CLOA) said, the looms were the part of cottage industry when number of machines remained below four. “Once there were 250,000 power looms in Faisalabad working as cottage industry providing earning opportunities to 600,000 to 650,000 people directly and indirectly,” he said. He said the cottage or small-scale industry increases circulation of finance among ordinary people. “With the concentration of business and money in some hands instead of many, the ratio of people dropping down the poverty line is increasing every year.” Ramay urged the government to concentrate on promotion of cottage and small-scale industry to materialize the dream of economic revival in the country. Therefore, the government must move forward to equip unemployed rural youth with technical expertise and access to small scale financing for laying down foundation for a strong economy.