New Delhi | The government needs to take several steps like providing fiscal support for skills training and upgradation of machines with a view to boost labour intensive handicrafts sector, an industry body has said.
Besides a slowdown in traditional markets like the US and Europe, significant decline in cost advantage in the global markets are impacting the sector’s exports, Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH) Vice-Chairman Rajesh Kumar Jain said. We need urgent support from the government. Handicrafts exporters are facing huge crunch of skilled manpower and modern machinery.
Compliance burden is hitting our margins and and to improve all this, we need funds. We will soon take up the matter with both the Textiles and the Commerce Ministry, Jain said.
He said lack of designers and fund crunch to organise trade fairs abroad too is impacting the exports. In the US and the Europe, we are still facing huge problem in terms of demand. These were our major markets. We are now looking at South America, Africa and China.
These regions have huge potential for exporters, he said adding to tap these markets, the council need funds to organise exhibitions, fairs and buyer-seller meets. The US and Europe together account for about 60 per cent of the country’s total handicraft exports.
He also said exporters are facing product compliance issues in western markets. We need government support to comply those compliances. Demand of western buyers are very expensive to meet, Jain said.
Country’s handicraft exports grew by 11 per cent to USD 125.6 million in March but these figures are very low and we need to boost this, he said, adding that the sector employs about 70 lakh people directly and indirectly.
The main handicraft items exported by India include house-ware, home textiles, furniture, glassware, bamboo goods, fashion jewellery and lamp and lighting. He said earlier the country’s annual handicraft exports were ranges between USD 3 billion to USD 4 billion but now it has come down.