ODOP: Handicraft Sector
GS Paper – 2 Government Policies & Interventions, Growth & Development.
Why in the news?
- The Ministry of Textiles has opened the ‘Lota Shop’ inside the National Crafts Museum in New Delhi.
- Central Cottage Industries Corporation of India Limited (CCIC), also known as the Central Cottage Industries Emporium, opened the shop.
- It exhibits beautiful handcrafted curios, souvenirs, handicrafts, and fabrics based on traditional Indian artisan traditions.
- The administration also underlined its commitment to ‘One District, One Product,’ which will boost the handicraft and artisan sectors.
What exactly is the One District One Product?
- The Ministry of Food Processing Industries launched the ‘One District, One Product’ (ODOP) programme to assist districts in reaching their full potential, fostering economic and socio-cultural progress, and creating employment possibilities, particularly in rural areas.
- It was started by the Uttar Pradesh government in January 2018 and, due to its success, was later adopted by the Central Government.
- This effort is carried out in conjunction with the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), Department of Commerce’s ‘Districts as Exports Hub’ initiative.
- The ‘Districts as Exports Hub’ initiative gives financial and technical aid to district level companies so that small-scale industries can be helped and local people can be employed.
- Its goal is to identify, promote, and brand a product from a specific district.
- To promote the product in which the district specialises in order to convert every district in India into an export powerhouse.
- It intends to achieve this via scaling production, supporting local firms, discovering prospective overseas clients, and so on, so contributing to the realisation of the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ goal.
What is the state of India’s handicraft industry?
- Handicrafts are objects made by hand with simple tools rather than employing mass manufacturing processes and machinery. While handicrafts are quite similar to basic arts and crafts, there is one significant difference.
- The products created as a consequence of the efforts are attractive in nature as well as developed for a specific function or usage.
- For decades, the handloom and handicraft industry has been the backbone of India’s rural economy.
- India manufactures woodware, art metal wares, handprinted fabrics, embroidered products, zari goods, imitation jewellery, sculptures, pottery, glassware, attars, agarbattis, and other items.
- India is one of the world’s largest exporters of handicrafts.
- The entire handicraft export from India, excluding handmade carpets, was USD 174.26 million in March 2022, an increase of 8% from February 2022. Total exports of Indian handicrafts were valued at USD 4.35 billion in 2021-22, a 25.7 percent increase over the previous year.
The Sector’s Importance:
- The largest source of employment:
It is one of the major job creators after agriculture, providing a vital source of income for the country’s rural and urban populations.
Handicraft is one of the most important industries in India, employing around seven million people.
The industry is well known for being a pioneer of environmentally friendly zero-waste methods and operates on a self-sustaining business model, with craftspeople often growing their own raw materials.
Artisans confront problems such as a lack of capital, a lack of technological penetration, a lack of market information, and a weak institutional foundation for growth.
Furthermore, the sector is afflicted by the underlying contradiction of handmade items, which are often at conflict with manufacturing scale.
What Factors Encourage Sector Growth?
- Government Schemes:
The national government is actively working to grow the industry so that it can reach its full potential.
Several plans and initiatives are being implemented to assist artisans in overcoming the obstacles they encounter.
- The Emergence of Dedicated Trade Platforms:
Few platforms, such as Craftezy, have developed to assist Indian craftsmen in gaining awareness in domestic and global markets.
These worldwide handicraft trade platforms provide a free supplier induction procedure and strive to give the global market an orderly appearance.
- Using Technology to Promote Inclusion:
Technology that allows people to communicate across borders has proven to be a godsend to the handcraft sector.
E-commerce has given seamless access to consumer goods, enabling inclusive growth because all manufacturers from any area of the world can present their items through these online platforms.
Even social media platforms are assisting in the global marketing of Indian handicrafts.
- Imports vs. Exports:
Over the previous five years, exports of Indian handicrafts have increased by more than 40%, with three-fourths of all handicrafts exported.
Indian handicrafts are heavily exported to over a hundred nations, with the United States alone accounting for around one-third of India’s handicraft exports.
- Changes in Artisan Behavior:
To increase their revenue, artists learn new skills and develop goods that match changing market demands.
As a result of the introduction of technology and the comfort it brings to their table, there is a substantial change in the behaviours of handcraft vendors and customers.
What are the Government Initiatives Involved?
Ambedkar Hastshilp Vikas Yojana:
- To assist artisans with infrastructural, technology, and human resource development requirements.
- The goal of mobilising craftspeople into self-help groups and societies with the goal of facilitating bulk manufacturing and economies in raw material purchase.
Mega Cluster Plan:
- This scheme’s goals include job creation and raising craftsmen’ living standards.
- This programme takes a cluster-based strategy to growing infrastructure and production chains at handicraft centres, particularly those in rural areas.
Marketing Assistance and Services Scheme:
- This scheme offers interventions for domestic marketing events to artisans in the form of financial assistance to help them organise and participate in trade fairs and exhibitions around the country and overseas.
Scheme for Research and Development:
- This effort was launched to collect feedback on the economic, social, aesthetic, and promotional elements of crafts and craftsmen in the sector, with the goal of assisting in the implementation of the aforementioned plans.
National Development Program for Handicrafts:
- Surveys, design and technology upgrades, human resource development, insurance and credit facilities for artisans, R&D, infrastructure development, and marketing support activities are all significant components of this programme.
Comprehensive Cluster Development Scheme for Handicrafts:
- This scheme’s approach is to scale up infrastructure and the production chain at handicraft clusters. This strategy also intends to offer appropriate infrastructure for production, value addition, and quality assurance.
Handicrafts Export Promotion Council:
- The council’s major goal is to promote, support, protect, maintain, and increase the export of handicrafts.
- Other operations of the council include knowledge dissemination, professional guidance and support to members, delegation trips and fairs, contact between exporters and the government, and awareness training.
The Way Forward
- With the correct backing and business environment, the Indian craft sector has the potential to become a billion-dollar economy.
- Creating a systematic approach that promotes the intrinsic worth of craft skills while also opening doors to product design and manufacture will enhance access to new markets.
- In addition, leveraging e-commerce for online visibility and operational efficiencies will be a vital success factor as the sector expands and gains popularity.
- In this era of globalisation, the handicraft sector offers enormous prospects in both domestic and global markets. While the precarious status of artists necessitates cautious intervention for their elevation, the government has already made significant progress by enacting policies that would make handmade items competitive globally and enhance the conditions of our artisans.