17 January 2020, 04:01 PM

Indian handicrafts need new vision to compete globally

Indian handicrafts need new vision to compete globally

As the name suggests, handicrafts are creative products made by the skill of the hands without much help from modern technologies and equipment. When we talk of handicrafts, a beautiful image comes to our mind; an image full of artistic complexion, creative delicacy and beautiful appearance. Handicrafts mirror the cultural identity of the people who make it.

Today, the handicraft industry has become a big economic agent in transforming the lives of millions across the country. Industrialisation plays a vital role in the development process of an economy by transforming its growth linkages from agriculture to manufacturing. The handloom and handicraft sector is considered as one of the important sectors to generate gainful economic activities in rural areas.

The handloom and handicraft sector comprises of rural micro enterprises and is family oriented in its operations. It is a labour intensive and can be established with a relatively lesser amount of capital and is suitable for the rural masses.

Handicrafts’ impact on overall economy

The handicraft industry provides employment to a vast segment of craft persons in rural and semi-urban areas and generates substantial foreign exchange for the country, while preserving its cultural heritage. Handicrafts have a great potential, as they hold the key to sustaining not only the existing set of millions of artisans spread over the length and breadth of the country, but also for the increasingly large number of new entrants in the crafts segment.

Backed by promotional and developmental activities by the government, the handicraft sector has grown steadily over the years. According to the Ministry of Textiles, the aggregate output of the sector has increased over 40% in the past five years from Rs 36,275 crore in 2013-14 to Rs 49,475 crore in 2018-19. The sector is estimated to employ 68.86 lakh artisans at present.

Globalisation and handicrafts industry

But the sector has not only grown steadily over the past years to contribute more and more to GDP growth, it has turned out to be a big foreign exchange earner; something the country wants badly to cut its ever increasing current account deficit. The Indian economy has changed appreciably ever since it opened doors to the multinationals in 1991.

The growing opportunity for handicrafts in the global market is observed when it is seen that Indian handicrafts export increased three times in five years from Rs 387 crore in 1986-87 to Rs 1,065 crore in 1991-92. Another plus factor was the growth in international tourist arrivals in the post-liberalisation era that raised the demand for India’s traditional and cultural handicrafts.