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Assistance for handicraft trade promotion
Sep '10
The Indian Govt. intends to increase exports of hand-made textile and fashion products, accessories, footwear and other leather items. The craft sector is the second-largest provider of employment next to agriculture and therefore constitutes an important part of the national economy. About 35 million people are involved in this industry.

The yearly produce of this industry is estimated to be around $6 billion which is around 8 percent of the total goods produced in India. Out of this, around one-third is constituted by overseas trade.

The foreign earnings from the handicrafts sector rose to $1.9 billion in the last fiscal year with a fall of 41 percent due to the economic depression. 40 percent of the total sales are to the European Union and around 29 percent to the US.

Mechanization is affecting the income and employment of the handicraft people. Most of the manufacturers are launching computerized services because of their high efficiency.

All measures for mechanization are not abandoned, those are retained which can really promote the skill as well as protect the income and employment of the artisans. Such efforts are being made to give a boost to the handicraft industry and promote the expertise as well as ingenuity of the craftsperson.

Manufacturers are looking for other overseas markets as demand for these products, from EU and US, have fallen during the last two years. The All India Artisans and Craft Workers Welfare Association is extending all kinds of support to its members in order to enable them to contact potential customers in these markets.

Another initiative in this direction has been taken by the Cottage Industry-Global Market project which is working with the women's handicraft units in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, to enhance their productivity.

Apart from all these initiatives, the thrust of the country's foreign trade policy for the period 2009-14 is on handicrafts, handlooms, precious stones, ornaments, footwear and other leather items. These industries are entitled to tax-free imports of some equipment and accessories, amounting to around 5 percent of exports during fiscal 2009-10. Machineries for waste treatment plants have also been freed from levies to protect the environment from further degradation.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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