Current scenario of Handloom and Handicraft Industry in India:
As per the joint census of Handlooms and Powerlooms the handloom sector plays a very important role in the country's economy. It is one of the largest economic activities providing direct employment to over 65 lakh people engaged in weaving and allied activities. This sector produced 4001 million sq. meters (Provisional) of cloth during 2007-08, up by 7.5% over the corresponding period of 2006-07, almost 13% of the total cloth production.
The Handicrafts Sector play a significant & important role in the country's economy. It provides employment to a vast segment of craft persons in rural & semi urban areas and generates substantial foreign exchange for the country, while preserving its cultural heritage. Handicrafts have great potential, as they hold the key for sustaining not only the existing set of millions of artisans spread over length and breadth of the country, but also for the increasingly large number of new entrants in the crafts activity. Presently, handicrafts contribute substantially to employment generation and exports.
The handloom and Handicraft sector has, suffered due to it being unorganized, with the additional constraints of lack of education, low capital, and poor exposure to new technologies, absence of market intelligence, and a poor institutional framework.
There are many associations working hard to make handloom and handicraft sector organized and noticeable.
Speaking with Fibre2Fashion Mr. Ramakrishnan Thoppian, Secretary - Kerala Textile Export Association, highlighted the following points in concern with role of association:
Trade Association is always a vehicle to assist & guide the entrepreneurs, to promote and develop the industry as a whole and update all the related information to the members.
It has also more roles such as to liaise with Govt. agencies/various promotion councils, help to solve the problems faced by the members with various Government authorities.
Handloom and Handicraft industry in India is mainly in the unorganized sector and presently in the receding level due to its inherent nature like low productivity, shortage of skilled labor (as personal skill is the key element of the product) and present exposure of better job availability with better income for comparatively easy work. If the product does not show up the skill of the handwork, it will not fetch the required level of premium to cover the cost of labor.
The Association acts as a bridge between the Industry and the Government agencies on the following issues -
- Identification and training of labor
- Design development and product development
- Raw material procurement
- Marketing assistance(Domestic & Export)
- Subsidies and incentives for domestic and export market
- To propose the Government authorities/Ministry/Export Promotion councils about the various Budgetary support/needs.
- Infrastructure development support
- Help in implementing the different schemes introduced by the State/Central Government for labors.
- To act as a bridge between the Industry and the Trade Unions on various labor related issues like wages, bonus, etc.
- To advise the requirement of the Industry to the various regional advisory committees like Railways, Central Excise, Handloom & Handicraft etc.
- To guide the educational institutions for their courses(fashion, technical, non-technical & managerial)
- Protecting intellectual property rights(IPR)
Main role of the association are as below:
- Direct Marketing through Trade Fairs in both overseas as well domestic Folk Craft Festivals, Buyer - Seller meets etc.
- Associations also do publicity and promotion through catalogs and product specific information booklets.
- Publish monthly Newsletter to update members about latest happenings in handloom and handicraft sector.
- Work as a Liaison with Government Department, Industry Association, Chamber of Commerce and other similar institutions.
- Assist members in settlement of trade disputes with the buyers
- Organize awareness seminars, open house meets, workshops, on various trade related issues
- Invitation to reputed designers/trend forecasting agencies to interact with handloom/handicrafts members exporters.