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Handicraft exports of India witness surge
Feb '11
The Union Ministry of Textiles has given directions to the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH) and the National Centre for Design and Product Development (NCDPD) to launch capacity and skill development programmes in 30 different clusters across India.

The programme is aimed at imparting training to more than 7,000 artisans, under the Human Resource Development Scheme of Artisans and Craftsmen across 30 clusters in the country, by close of the current fiscal year.

Handicraft exports registering a rise of about 25 percent grew to $1,139 million during the initial eight months of current fiscal year, as against exports worth $912 million that is Rs 44.12 billion registered during the same period in 2009. The overall handicraft exports for the financial year 2009-10 came to $1,830 million that is Rs 87.19 billion. Thus, the government has revised the handicraft export target for the current fiscal year and raised it from initial $2.2 billion to $2.5 billion.

Handicraft exports reached Rs 170 billion level during 2006-07 fiscal, but then dropped to Rs 80 billion in the 2008-09 fiscal, on account of the economic slump in the US and Europe. However, the sector again started moving positively since second half of the 2009-10 fiscal, and looking at the present situation it is expected that it may grow to Rs 100 billion by the end of the current 2010-11 fiscal year.

Handicraft items like scarves, hand-printed textiles, embroidered and crocheted garments, stoles and bags are presently very much in demand.

The Minister said that, developing the capacity and skills of the artisans would remain the main focus for raising handicraft exports and to hold on the same in times to come.

The intention behind organizing the programme is to enhance the quality of the handicrafts made in India, raise their competitiveness in the global markets, technological development, developing the skills of the artisans, introduction of modern machineries to aid production of better products, restore the manufacturing processes, up-grade the designs and to support product development.

Without customized skill enhancement or training programmes, the craftsmen, producers and exporters were not in a position to stand in competition with their well-skilled and trained global counterparts from China and other South East Asian countries.

Each of the craftsmen who undertake the training programme will be paid a stipend of Rs 500 per day, which would make up for the loss in the earnings that they incur each day during the five-day training. The programme would help these people to develop an insight in product development and designing, and thus enable them to better converge with the changing market requirements.

Faculties from various institutions like Pearl Academy of Fashion, Small Industries Development Bank of India (Sidbi), National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) have been engaged to impart training under the programme.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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