Top Five Government Initiatives for Handicraft Industry
The handicraft industry of India is one of the biggest decentralized industries. This sector mainly has its hub in the remote and rural parts of India.
Each and every state is famous for its own set of handicrafts which comes from the rich and diversified culture of the forefathers of artisans. Despite being very rich and famous around the world, the handicraft sector of India was fragmented because of which the artisans and the exporters of handicrafts could not reap the adequate benefit that this industry could provide. However, with the passage of time, things have started to change. Artisans from across the various parts of the country have started to come together to leverage the benefits of this gigantic and thriving industry. Immense efforts are being taken by the government of India that is turning the tables and bringing the artisans and the exporters of these products to the forefront. In this article, we will go through the top five initiatives taken by the government of India in the development of the handicraft industry and the artisans and the exporters attached to it.
Initiatives by the Government to ensure High Growth Trajectory of the Industry
- Promotion of Authentic and Premium Handicraft Products: The government is focusing on the upper up-gradation of prices of handicrafts that are rich in artistic value and are of authentic and premium quality. These handicrafts generally are of medium volume and are placed in the niche market with the support of strong advertisements and promotional techniques. These handicrafts come with the mark of ‘Handcrafted in India’ which develops a sense of willingness in the minds of customers to pay a higher price for the product. The development of such handicrafts is ensured by proper selection and training of young and flourishing artisans who have creative and artistic skills. The training process is conducted by top-class workmen who are masters of their craft. These workmen aim on transferring their rich and traditional skills to these young artists. Artisans and workmen are also supported through proper assistance of social security, education, tools, equipment, and so on.
- Expanding the Production of Lifestyle, Utility-based and Mass Production Handicrafts: These segments of the industry will require the use of improved technology and mechanization of various parts of the process of manufacturing which will further help in the mass production, cost reduction, and improvements in the quality of handicrafts to face the worldwide competition. These issues will be met by empowering the communities of artisans and workmen by bringing them together and forming community groups, training them to run Common Facility Centers (CFCs) that are equipped with modern technology, raw material, improved tools, designing facilities, processing, and by assisting them directly by providing financial helps with the help of bank accounts. An important thing to note here is that these CFCs will be linked with the market with the help of exporters and bulk buyers of that respective region which will ensure the welfare of producers as well as the sellers. Surveys will be conducted on a periodic basis to provide for the necessary database which will help in devising any plans in the future.
- Handicrafts of Rich heritage to be Protected and Preserved: Each and every state of the country has varieties of handicrafts in its pocket. However, there is some craft that is declining due to economic factors and various other factors. Some examples of crafts that are declining are Rogan painting, Papier de Mache, etc. The government aims to protect and preserve these crafts by introducing Handicrafts museums, Hastkala Academy, and likewise. Efforts are being made to modify and re-invent these declining crafts to meet the demand of the present-day global market.
Let us now go through the top five government initiatives for the handicraft industry.
Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hastshilp Vikas Yojana
This yojana was introduced with the aim of promoting Indian handicrafts on a global level by putting together the cluster of artisans and workmen into a professional community enterprise with the underlying principles of self-reliance and mutual cooperation. Workshops of 25 days are conducted which helps in the development of new and unique types of products that suit the tastes and preferences of the global markets. Let us now discuss in detail the various components of this scheme:
- Social Component
- Proper survey and implementation of the plan of the project.
- Mobilization of fragmented artisans into Self-help groups.
- Distribution of identity cards to the registered artisans.
- Technology Component
- Procurement of improved tools.
- Conducting Design and Technical Workshops.
- Integration of Design component with the technology.
- Training of artisans to adapt to advanced technologies.
- Marketing Component
- Organizing handicraft exhibitions.
- Building brand by advertisement through various modes like printing and electronic media.
- Studying the market, product, etc.
- Conducting entrepreneur development programs.
- Financial Component
- Guarantee of credit
- Compensation of cluster managers and other workers.
- Providing money margin support.
Design and Technical Upgradation Scheme
This scheme aims to develop the technical skills of the artisans by building prototypes that match the requirements of the global market. The primary aim of this scheme is a market revival of declining handicrafts and the preservation of the heritage of these handicrafts. The scheme has been implemented with a budget of around 10 crores. Let us now discuss in detail the various components of this scheme:
- Upgradation of Skill
- Heritage masters to be assisted.
- Assistance is provided for the purposes of training the trainers.
- Improving the technology aspect of the production.
- Technology and Design Upgradation
- Conducting workshops for design and technology development.
- Integration of design and technology.
- Protection, documentation, and preservation of declining and languishing crafts.
- Financial help to be provided for the setting up of institutions under the State initiatives.
- Providing financial assistance to institutions sponsored by the Union government.
- Conducting programs aiming at product development.
Mega Cluster Scheme
The Mega Cluster Scheme aims to bring together the fragmented artisans from the remote corners of the country and follow a mega-cluster approach. This scheme has provided immense benefits to the artisans and the workmen who have not been able to keep up with the pace of technological up-gradation and overall developments that took place because of modernization. Let us discuss the objectives of this scheme:
- Generation of employment opportunities.
- Improving the standard of living of the existing artisans.
- Improvement of infrastructure for the artisans, modernization of tools and equipment, and diversification of handicrafts.
- Building the brand of the existing products.
Marketing Support and Services Scheme
This scheme focuses on domestic marketing events and provides financial assistance to the artisans for organizing or participating in marketing events conducted in India. Under this scheme, various demonstration programs and craft awareness are also conducted. The main components of this scheme are discussed below:
- Domestic Marketing
- Organizing events to create awareness about Indian handicrafts and small and big cities.
- Establishment of direct contact of the artisans with buying houses, exporters, etc.
- Setting up has and marketing hubs for buying and selling handicrafts in various parts of the country.
- International Marketing
- Introducing craftsmen for the country with the advanced technology and innovation by sending them abroad.
- Organizing workshops in India and abroad to create awareness.
- Improving the quality of the Indian handicrafts to meet international standards.
Research and Development Scheme
This scheme aims at the development of handicrafts by process of research and evaluation. Various researches are conducted periodically keeping in mind the handicrafts sector. This scheme was initiated to generate feedback on important issues of the artisans and the craft like economic issues, social issues, etc. The important points of this scheme are discussed below:
- Survey of certain crafts for which proper and adequate information is not available.
- Analyzing the working and the living conditions of the artisans.
- Financial assistance for the preparation of various types of standards and legal reports.
- Carrying on the task of registering crafts under the Geographical Indication Act.
- Helping exporters of handicrafts to adopt GSI global identification standards
The handicrafts of India are well-known across the whole world. This sector provides employment to the artisans and the workmen in huge numbers from the rural and the urban parts of India. It is an extremely significant industry from the economy’s point of view. This industry helps India with foreign exchange and also helps in the maintenance of the employment rate of the country. If we go as per the reports, India exported around 130 Billion rupees in the fiscal year 2021. These numbers will keep on expanding once the corona wave lessens. However, there are other significant problems too that the industry is facing. These problems are lack of education among artisans, poor exposure to new technologies, lack of market and marketing techniques, and so on. Here is where the initiatives and the programs implemented by the government of India come to the rescue of artisans and the overall industry.