Though most of the sectors registered a decline in exports of Indian products to global markets, export of handicrafts continued to grow at the rate of 17 per cent, said Verma while addressing an event organised by the associated chambers of commerce and industry in India (ASSOCHAM).
“There is a huge scope for promoting Indian handloom and handicraft products in the niche markets world over. All stakeholders should make efforts to engage with artisans and weavers in the country and hand-hold them not only for ensuring that they get right price and market for their products and also get recognition which they deserve in the world and domestic markets,” she added.
The government is taking a number of steps for skilling weavers, for giving them design inputs, quality raw material, tools and upgrading their looms to empower them so that they continue to remain engaged in this craft.
An initiative to train children of weavers and artisans to become entrepreneurs has also been started by the textiles ministry to help them emerge as leaders in producers' groups and market their products through e-commerce and other channels directly.
“We are finding that younger generation is slowly getting disinterested in this sector and are moving towards information technology (IT) as the children of the weavers and artisans are not joining this profession. This (training programme) is also in one way trying to attract children of weavers and artisans back into this trade,” continued Verma.
She added that there are a number of design workshops especially for the weavers and artisans whereby they are informed about current market trends and demand of the market because they have to be sensitised to the needs of the market and only then they will be able to produce what the consumer wants and not try to sell whatever they have made.
Verma informed that the ministry had conducted an analysis and found that many of the weavers and artisans have become workers and labourers in the hands of traders or exporters. The dearth of working capital, dependence upon middle men for raw material, working capital and even the design are certain factors forcing the weavers and artisans to sell off their talent and craft.
“It is very-very important that we all together take steps so that dignity of the weaver and artisan is restored and we empower them to be able to sell their talent and their products and not their labour,” said Verma. (KD)
Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India
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