India sees a huge scope for promoting its handloom and handicraft products in the niche markets world over. Also the export of handicrafts continued to grow at the rate of 17 percent. As many global companies are willing to tie up with Indian weavers and artisans, the Union textiles ministry is looking to concentrate on new markets and opportunities for local handloom and handicraft sector.
Rashmi Verma, Textiles Secretary addressing at an ASSOCHAM Luxury Summit held in New Delhi said that the ministry has signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) with 20 e-commerce companies to engage with artisans and weavers in different handloom and handicraft clusters across India and help them market their products directly. This will go a long way in ensuring that they get the right price for their product as they are able to sell their product directly to the consumer.
The textiles Secretary further added that 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.
The government is taking 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.
The Textiles Ministry has taken an initiative for training children of weavers and artisans to become entrepreneurs so that they can emerge as leaders in producersâ€™ groups and market their products through e-commerce and other channels directly. This is also in one way trying to attract children of weavers and artisans back into this trade, as younger generation of the weavers and artisans are not joining this profession and are slowly getting disinterested in this sector and are moving towards information technology.
Another reason for disinterest by the younger generation is that many of the weavers and artisans have become workers and labourers in the hands of traders or exporters. They get paid wages on a daily basis on whatever work they do in one day, so instead of selling their craft and talent, they are now selling their labour. This was found by the ministry on conducting an analysis. It is very-very important to take steps so that dignity of the weaver and artisan is restored and empower them to be able to sell their talent and their products and not their labour.
There are a number of design workshops conducted especially for the weavers and artisans whereby they are informed about current market trends and demand of the market because they have to be sensitized 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.
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