In Amta town, along the Damodar river, agriculture and fishing are the main occupations. The women here also do piece-rate work on chiffon and georgette sarees – they embellish them with small stones and turn plain sarees into works of art.
In many homes across rural West Bengal, women are engaged in this work; it gives them an income, a means of contributing to their family’s expenses, and a sense of independence.
The finished stone-studded sarees cost upwards of Rs. 2,000 in the shops of West Bengal, but the women get paid only a fraction of that amount—around Rs. 20 per saree.