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Handicrafts Industry

Indian Handicrafts Industry & Exports

Handicraft is one of the most important sectors in the Indian economy employing more than seven million people. The country produces woodware, artmetal wares, handprinted textiles, embroidered goods, zari goods, imitation jewellery, sculptures, pottery, glassware, attars, agarbattis, etc. The Handcraft industry in India is dominated by female artisans with over 56% of the total artisan. The country has 744 handicraft clusters employing nearly 212,000 artisans and offering over 35,000 products. Surat, Bareilly, Varanasi, Agra, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Chennai, and Mumbai are among the major clusters. Most of the manufacturing units are in rural and small towns, and there is enormous market potential in all Indian cities and abroad.
Significant advances in the availability of handicraft products on various online portals are bolstering market growth in India. Handicrafts are becoming increasingly popular as the country's travel and tourism industry grows. Tourists spend significant money on souvenirs and other craft items, expanding the opportunity for local artisans and craftspeople to produce and sell efficient handicrafts. Furthermore, rising demand for handmade décor accessories in homes, offices, and restaurants and rising demand from the gifting industry are propelling market growth. The sector is economically viable with low capital investment, high value addition ratio and high export potential.
India is one of the largest handicrafts exporting country and a clear leader in the homemade carpet segment both in terms of volume and value. In May 2022, the total handicraft export, excluding handmade carpets from India was US$ 120.06 million, a 1.01% increase from April 2022. During 2021-22, the total exports of Indian handicrafts were valued at US$ 4.35 billion, a 25.7% increase from the previous year. Over the past three years, the export of handmade goods, especially carpets, has grown steadily. India accounts for roughly 40% of global exports of handmade carpets. Carpet exports from India totalled US$ 1.37 billion in FY20. Between April 2020-February 2021, total carpet exports totalled US$ 1.33 billion. Major goods exported by India are Handmade woolen, woodwares, embroidered & crocheted goods, art metal ware, hand printed textile & scarves, agarbatties & attars, zari & zari goods, and imitation jewellery. Handicraft export of various segments from April 2020 to January 2021 stood as follows, woodwares at US$ 611.48 million, embroidered & crocheted goods at US$ 463.13 million, art metal wares at US$ 353.92 million, handprinted textiles and scarves at US$ 239.73 million, imitation jewellery at US$ 144.19 million, miscellaneous handicrafts at US$ 714.67 million. From April 2022-September 2022, total handicrafts excluding handmade carpets stood at US$ 716.21 million.
Demand for Indian handicraft products has constantly been increasing in foreign markets due to their individuality and great beauty. The major handicraft export destination for India are USA, the UK, LAC, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, the UAE and Switzerland. USA is the top importer of Indian handicrafts with a share of 38% of the total exports during 2020-21. India exports carpet to over 70 countries worldwide, primarily to USA, Australia, and Europe. The largest carpet export destinations for India are USA, Germany, the UK, and Australia with a share of about 57%, 6%, 5% and 5%, respectively.
USA is a significant buyer of handprinted textiles, zari woods, embroidered goods, imitation jewellery, and shawls. Carpet export to USA stood at over US$ 1.2 billion in 2021-22. The UK is a customer of Indian handicrafts, purchasing art items, crocheted items, handmade handicrafts, wood wares, and imitation jewellery. The country has also been a major importer of Indian handmade carpets. UAE is one of the major buyers of handprinted textiles, embroidery goods and art metal ware.
Handprinted textiles, imitation jewellery, embroidery items, and art metals are popular purchases in Germany and the country purchased carpets worth US$ 116.64 million in 2021-22.
a) National Handicraft Development Programme (NHDP)
The programme's goal is to increase the knowledge of the entire handicrafts sector about new design trends and colour forecasts, in order to increase India’s exports by increasing the new design led product. The important component of this programme is carrying out surveys, upgrading design and technology, developing human resources, providing insurance and credit facilities to artisans, R&D, infrastructure development and marketing support activities.
b) Comprehensive Handicrafts Cluster Development Scheme (CHCDS)
CHCDS aims to assist artisans and entrepreneurs in establishing world-class units with modern infrastructure, cutting-edge technology, adequate training and human resource development inputs, market linkages, and production diversification.
Soft interventions such as baseline surveys and activity mapping, skill training, improved tool kits, marketing events, seminars, publicity, design workshops, capacity building, and so on will be provided through CHCDS. Common Facility Centers, Emporiums, Raw Material Banks, Trade Facilitation Centers, Common Production Centers, Design and Resource Centers will also be granted under the scheme.
In addition to several standard international marketing events, virtual marketing events have been organized to provide artisans with an international marketing platform. Domestic marketing events such as Gandhi Shilp Bazaar, Craft Bazaar, and Exhibitions are organized to provide artisans with a domestic marketing platform.
Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH)
The EPCH was established under the Companies Act in 1986-87. The main objective of the council is to promote, support, protect, maintain and increase the export of handicrafts. The other activities of the council are knowledge dissemination, providing professional advice and support to members, organizing delegation visits and fairs, providing liaison between exporters and the government and carrying out awareness workshops.


Source: India Brand Equity Foundation

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