An Overview of Handicraft industry
India is basically an agriculture-based country and the development of rural economy of India depends upon the development of its 700-million strong rural population.
Handicrafts are a part of the country’s rich cultural heritage and play a significant role in national economy especially rural areas. Though a clear demarcation of handicraft sector is a difficult task, the two basic characteristics possessed by them, i.e., first, most of the work should be done by hand and second, the resultant products should have some artistic or aesthetic value.
Role of Handicraft industry for Indian Economy
The role of Handicraft Industries in Rural India Economy is very important and its contribution towards the rural economy of India is increasing steadily. This industry possesses a major share among other village industries in terms of employment, production, and export.
Firstly, The $5-billion (Rs 35,000-crore) industry is largely an artisan-based sector with huge employment potential and nearly 60 percent of the output is exported.
Secondly, Handicraft exports are one of the few items that have not seen a decline in the ongoing global trade crisis. According to the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts, exports from India rose to $3.2 billion in FY16 from $3 billion in the previous year.
Issues plaguing the handicraft sector
Lack of marketing platform and skills for them – Now a days people are preferring more mass-produced goods and big MNCs companies have come up to fulfill the demands, the rural handicraft industry is being sidelined due to lack of marketing platforms available to them. You might have heard about the story of Ruma Devi from Barmer even she believes that the women in the villages have talent but lack marketing skills.
Lack of Education – It is estimated that in 2003 around 50% of heads of households of crafts producing families had no education whatsoever, and more shockingly, around 90% of the women in these households were completely uneducated, according to a report published in Economic and Political Weekly 2003, by World Bank titled Handmade in India
Lack of demand – With the advent of globalization and the availability of cheaper and more varied products, crafts face severe competition in contemporary markets. They are typically perceived as traditional, old-fashioned and antithetical to modern tastes. Instead of merely lamenting the decline of our craft tradition or expecting cheap products, we need to recognize that crafts need our patronage
Lack of Certification – Nowadays when the power loom sector has become so advanced, it is very difficult to distinguish between genuine handmade products from those made on power looms or the ones mass-produced by machines. Attempts at certification of genuine craft products and award of the Craftmark, have not taken off as consumer demand for certified produce has not grown and producers have limited incentives to adopt this practice.
For a large number of people seeking to move out of agriculture, there are possibilities in the sector to strengthen the manufacturing base in the country and to move away from caste-based occupations. So next time when you shop for branded product dont forget to atleast check for an alternative in handmade product. It mights cost you more because handmade products exact replica is hard to find but you are actually helping the lakhs of people who are associated with this industry and also the Indian economy