Having abundant raw material for handicrafts such as wood, marble, leather, metals, copper, etc. and rising trend in production, Rajasthan has exported handicraft items worth 6,205.32 crore in the last fiscal year 2020-21.
Besides, gem and jewellery worth Rs 4,067.36 crore, textiles worth Rs 5,729.29 crore, readymade garments worth Rs 1,764.40 crore and carpet/dari worth Rs 464.70 crore were exported from the state during the fiscal year.
At a recently-held Investment Rajasthan summit in October 2022 for the development of handicrafts and uplift of the artisans, for the first time, handicrafts were included as a thrust sector of the Rajasthan Investment Promotion Scheme for additional benefits of the state government. With an aim to further boost the investment on cultural heritage in the state the Rajasthan Handicraft Policy 2022 was introduced in September, 2022.
The focus of the policy is to support the state’s handicraftsmen and weavers, acknowledging their significant involvement in the social and economic development as well as their access to technological advancements. The policy also assists with marketing, financial, social security by way of inclusion of clusters and craft villages concept.
Industry Minister Shakuntala Rawat told SNS on Tuesday, “The prime objective of the policy was to set up the essential infrastructure in the state for the sector. The policy focuses on empowering handicraftsmen by ensuring participation and generating new employment opportunities. It also aims at making the state’s products exportable.”
The policy with the provisions like organising the national level handicrafts week every year, state level awards in various categories, brand building, e-marketing, social security, loan facility, scholarship and assistance for participation in fair exhibitions as well as craft villages empowers artisans. It also includes provisions for the handicraft parks, design centres, sales centres, and the creation of a Directorate of Handicraft. The new policy is also expected to generate more than 50,000 new jobs in the next five years, according to the Minister’s claim.
According to India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the demand for Indian handicraft products has constantly been increasing in foreign markets due to their individuality and beauty. The major handicraft export destinations for India are the US, the UK, Latin America and Caribbean (LAC), Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, the UAE and Switzerland.
The USA is the top importer of Indian handicrafts with a share of 38 percent of the total exports during 2020-21. India exports carpet to over 70 countries worldwide, primarily to the US, Australia, and Europe. The largest carpet export destinations for India are the US, Germany, the UK and Australia with a share of about 57 percent, 6 percent, 6 percent, and 5 percent, respectively.