Handicrafts represent certain values and reflect a region’s culture and tradition. The handicraft sector is an important segment of the Indian economy and generates sizeable employment as well. The rural economy holds noteworthy significance in Indian economy and the handicraft sector accounts for an important share of the country’s export market. The total handicraft industry spans different regions and involves thousands of artisans. According to industry sources, there are more than 60,000 export houses dealing with handicrafts in India. Almost all Indian states have their own set of signature handicrafts that reflect the cultural and traditional ethos of that state. However, the sector has its set of problems as well. Low availability of technical support is a significant drawback though some advancement has been made and efforts are on to bridge the gap between demand and supply.
Ashok Majhi, a Dokra artist from Bardhaman, West Bengal, told BE, “The condition is not very bad right now since the government is actually promoting our work through different emporiums and ensuring better exposure of our work.”
Total export of handicrafts from India grew by 11.07% to reach $3.66 billion in FY 2016-17. During the FY 2017-18, the handicraft market raised an approximate amount of $3,555 million and shawls, textiles, and scarves performed well. Agarbatis and attars ranged at around $149.82 million and embroidered and crocheted goods were valued at around $506.17 million. Handicrafts and textiles are exported to different countries like the US, the UK, the UAE, and Germany among others and the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH) is the government body operating under the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, which is responsible for promotion of the handicraft sector.
Geographically Specific Handicrafts
Handicrafts are handmade crafts or art which cannot be produced mechanically. Considering India’s diversity, every region has something specific to showcase from every nook and corner. Let us look into what different regions of India have to offer: