President Pranab Mukherjee today said that production of handicraft items provides livelihood opportunities to millions of people living in rural areas and extensive range of indigenous handicrafts reflect nation’s diversity and infinite creativity.
Presenting the National Awards and Shilp Guru Awards to master craftpersons in New Delhi President said, “Our indigenous handicrafts are a cherished aspect of our way of life. Their extensive range reflects our nation’s diversity and infinite creativity. Each geographic region and sub-region has its individual style and tradition that stems from the ancient life-rhythms of its society.”
“Our shilpkaars have, down the centuries, developed their own, often unique, methods and techniques of bringing life into stone and metal, sandalwood and clay. They had, many centuries ago, perfected scientific and engineering processes far ahead of their times. The creations of that time reveal their sophisticated knowledge and highly developed aesthetic sense,” he added.
The President said that production of handicraft items provides livelihood opportunities to millions of people living in rural areas. Handicrafts entail low capital investment and facilitate environmental conservation. They also empower disadvantaged segments like the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes and minorities thus making development inclusive and sustainable. Production of handicraft items holds particular significance in the economic empowerment of women living in the rural areas.
He appreciated the government’s schemes to push the sector. A comprehensive National Handicraft Development programme was launched by the government. The programme emphasizes an integrated approach for development of handicraft clusters. The major thrust is on result oriented interventions focusing on empowering artisans through skill and technology upgradation, design development and supply of raw materials through easily accessible common facility centres at cluster level. Developing and strengthening marketing linkages through various options such as direct sale, participation in sale expos and e-commerce is another major component of the new approach. Information technology is also being utilized to provide assistance to artisans directly through Aadhar linked bank accounts.
Mukherjee said that concerted steps at various levels are necessary to provide a fillip to the handicrafts sector. These may include facilitation of easier access to credit from banks and other financial institutions and the promotion of these products in domestic and foreign markets. Universities, Corporate houses and Government departments can contribute by sponsoring and also undertaking research which results in new and innovative technologies that will enable upgradation of the traditional tools and designs of local artisans.