The Government of West Bengal has always had a consistent effort to promote rural villagers and artisans and to uphold their artistry. For this a lot of efforts are taken up by the Ministry of West Bengal just to ensure that these artists get their proper recognition and they are given a proper platform to showcase their products. In fact if we look at the statistics according to the national census of handicrafts, which has been undertaken by the National Council for Applied Economic Research, the value of handicrafts produced last year were of Rs. 26,213 Crore.
India’s rich cultural diversity and heritage provides a unique and huge resource for developing craft products.
The Indian Handicraft Industry is showing a tremendous continuous growth rate of 20% every year. The Rural art and craft industry is one of the important segments of decentralized sector in India. Major parts of the rural handicraft industry operates in rural and semi urban areas throughout the country and has potential Indian and International market with around 67000 exporters to tap the market. According to the national census of handicrafts, which was undertaken by the National Council for Applied Economic Research, the value of handicrafts produced last year were worth Rs.26,213 Crore.
This Industry provides a huge scope for employment opportunities to rural artisans which include women and people belonging to the backward and weaker sections of the society. This is considered to be one of the major sources of income there. Statistics show that the Indian Handicraft Industry is worth $100 billion worldwide.
A View from the Top:
This year too, to uplift the life of the rural artisans and to bring their artistry to the limelight, NABARD has conducted the Hasta Shilpa Mela which was conducted at the Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre, near Salt Lake Sector 3, Kolkata. Shobha Rani, the AGM of NABARD who looks after the Farm Development Department says, “it is a beautiful opportunity for people to come here and project their crafts. We are here for 5 days. Last year we had provided space for 25 stalls. This year we have increased it to 50 stalls and we have artisans coming all across India. There has been an increasing demand for handmade products in the urban markets, due to which there is a constant need for us to expand this business. Hence we are trying to connect with more artisans and get them here”.
Irfan Ahmed Khan came all the way from Jammu and Kashmir came with his entire group, to showcase his Kashmiri products. “All are products are homemade, and they are weaved at our homes. We got a special invitation from the Government of West Bengal and from NABARD to come here and sell our products. The best part is our transport, food and lodging- everything has been arranged by NABARD. All we had to do was pack our products and come here. Last year too the sale was good, and this year too we are expecting a lot”.
The rural and handicrafts fair is held not just to help them sell products, but it also highlights the rich culture and tradition of West Bengal. Rural Handicrafts have become very popular here and the crowds are increasing, and so are their demands. The Government of West Bengal creates ample opportunities for rural trade to flourish here. Chinta Ghosh who came all the way from Purba Bardhaman says” we come here every year, and we also visited the Eco Park Hasta Shilpa mela, and last wear here we got huge sales. We are looking forward to this year too. We wish that these fairs happen year, which will definitely give rural people and their artistry a different importance and beauty in this modern world”