The Handicraft Industry
The Handicrafts Sector plays a significant & important role in the country’s economy. It provides employment to a vast segment of craftsperson in rural & semi-urban areas and generates substantial foreign exchange for the country while preserving its cultural heritage. Handicrafts have great potential, as they hold the key for sustaining not only the existing set of millions of artisans spread over length and breadth of the country but also for the increasingly large number of new entrants in the crafts activity. Presently, handicrafts contribute substantially to employment generation and exports.
The Small Scale and Cottage Sector helps to solve social and economic problems of the artisans, by providing employment to over 7 million artisans (including those in the Carpets trades) which include a large number of women and people belonging to weaker sections of the society.
In addition to the high potential for employment, the Sector is economically important from the point of low capital investment, the high ratio of value addition, and high potential for export and foreign exchange earnings for the country. The industry is highly labour intensive and decentralized, spread all over the country in rural and urban areas. Many artisans are engaged in certain crafts work on part-time basis.
The Handicraft sector has however, suffered due to its very nature of being unorganized, with the additional constraints of low capital, poor exposure to new technologies, absence of market intelligence, and a poor institutional framework. Lack of adequate and authentic data on craftsperson’s including their socio-economic status, livelihood conditions and details of their families has become a major bottleneck adversely affecting planning and policy-making for this sector.
There are 7 million craftsmen who are the backbone of Indian Handicraft Industry but they need support to remain competitive in an ever-changing globalized market.
Akal Information Systems Limited along with Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, has pioneered the way to provide a single window access to all the information and services provided by GOI to 7 million artisans across the country. Based upon the extensive research conducted, Akal Infosys consultants interviewed key officials in the Department, assessed the current situation and analyzed shortcomings and bottlenecks. Also, available and desired data sources were analyzed. Accordingly, Akal team designed and developed a web portal (National Artisan Portal – www.artisan.gov.in), which serves as an interactive platform for artisans and opens channels of communication with all stakeholders. The Portal so developed by Akal is a metadata-driven portal that links to the other Indian Government Portals/ websites for most updated information.
Unique Features of the NAP
- It provides comprehensive, accurate, reliable, and up-to- date information on various central government policies, schemes and services to benefit over 7 million Indian artisans.
- Through this portal, artisan can apply online for Pehchan Card and can avail benefits of various schemes like Mudra Loan, Bima Yojana credit guarantee scheme and many more.
- Users can get details about the eligibility criteria, beneficiary type, and benefits of the Scheme and also how to avail the Scheme benefits.
- Details related to exhibitions, awards and activities initiatives like Artisan App, Helpline No. etc. links are also provided.
- Information about various resources like EPCH, NCDPD, CEPC, HHEC etc., is also provided with an object to promote, support, protect, maintain and increase the export of handicrafts.