Exporters should take care of artisans’ welfare, says Irani

Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani has urged the exporting fraternity to take care of the welfare of artisans who are the backbone of the sector. 
Speaking at the inauguration of IHGF - Delhi Fair Autumn 2017 here yesterday, the Minister said design and product development play a crucial role in value realisation and the benefit that the artisans and producers are able to reap from their products. 
IHGF, the world’s largest handicrafts and gifts fair, is being held at India Expo Centre & Mart, Greater Noida, from October 12 - 16.
Ms. Irani noted that handicraft exports had witnessed a year-on-year growth of 13.15% in 2016-17 and touched touched Rs 24,392 crore. She lauded the role of the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH).  She also appreciated the launch of schemes by EPCH under their CSR programme, for the education of children of artisans. 
The scheme provides full support to the education of children of artisans through open schools. While 75% of the expenditure will be borne by EPCH, member exporters have to bear the remaining 25%.
The Minister appreciated the introduction of “Design Register” scheme by EPCH, which allows hassle-free registration of designs by member exporters.  EPCH design services will definitely help the sector in a big way and will augment the exports of handicrafts from the country, ultimately increasing employment opportunities to artisans.
EPCH has an integrated programme of development of NER handicrafts and handlooms, under which support is provided for design, marketing and skill development, she noted.
For the first time for handicrafts sector, an initiative is being taken to promote Foreign Direct Investment and opportunities for joint ventures for both exporters and importers.  A symposium on “Investment Opportunities in Handicrafts Sector” is being organised. This initiative will give opportunities for overseas buyers to bring technical know-how, investment and marketing networks to form joint ventures for promoting Indian handicrafts in the world market, Ms Irani said.
Speaking on the occasion, Chairman, EPCH, OP Prahladka spoke of EPCH’s vision for the next five years on technology upgradation.  He said EPCH has just started the “Design and Product Development Technology Mission”. Prahladka also appreciated the support received from Ministry of Textiles and Ministry of Commerce for the smooth implementation of GST.
The inaugural ceremony was attended by a large number of overseas buyers. According to Executive Director, EPCH Rakesh Kumar, about 2,980 exhibitors of home, lifestyle, fashion, textiles and furniture are participating in the IHGF Delhi Fair.  Over 6,000 buyers from 110 countries are visiting the fair.  Mr Kumar said that special attractions of this fair include designers’ forum and recycled products.


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