Jaipur (Rajasthan) [India], November 6 (ANI) The first-of-its-kind handicraft policy of the Rajasthan government has set its sights on harnessing the potential of local craftsmen and working for the development of the handicraft industry.
The focus of the handicraft policy, launched by the Ashok Gehlot government in September this year, is to support the craftsmen and weavers, acknowledge their significant involvement in the social and economic development as well as ensure their access to technological advancements. The policy is also aimed at assisting with marketing, financial and social security by way of inclusion of clusters and craft villages concept.
The state has abundant raw materials such as wood, marble, leather and metals for the development of artisans and the handicraft industry. The state is also home to master craftsmen, handicraft experts and suitable institutions to not only take the traditional handicraft industry forward but also restore and revive dying arts and crafts that have been languishing for want of state support.
The policy is in line with the government's effort to create a conducive environment for the handicraft sector. Elaborating on the broad goals that the government hopes to achieve through its handicrafts policy, state Industries Minister Shakuntla Rawat said the objective is to provide better marketing arrangements for the upliftment of craftsmen, revive traditional and extinct arts as well as create new employment opportunities.
The prime objective of the policy is to set up the essential infrastructure in the state for the handicraft sector, the minister said. The policy also focuses on empowering handicrafts for the growth of the state by ensuring participation and generating new employment opportunities. It also aims to make the state's products exportable and gain an international reputation.
To empower the artisans, the policy has provisions like organising the national-level handicrafts week every year, state-level awards in various categories, brand building, e-marketing, social security, loan facility, scholarship and assistance for participation in fair exhibitions as well as craft villages.
The policy also provides for handicraft parks, design centres, sales centres, and the creation of a Directorate of Handicraft.
It is expected to generate more than 50,000 new jobs in the next five years, a government release said.
Rajasthan's traditional handicraft sector not only provides jobs to locals but also brings foreign exchange to the state coffers. The state is home to about 6 lakh craftsmen and artisans. In 2020 and 2021, handicraft items worth Rs. 6205.32 crores were exported. Gem and jewellery worth Rs 4067.36 crore, textiles worth Rs 5729.29 crores, readymade garments worth Rs 1764.40 crore and carpet/dari worth Rs. 464.70 crores were also exported.
Testifying to the proud legacy of the state's handicraft industry, the World Crafts Council (WCC), in 2016, declared Jaipur as the 'World Craft City' on account of its havelis, jharokhas, gates ornamented with handwork, paintings, wall paintings and the various types of handicrafts flourishing in the city.
With a focus on the development of handicrafts and the uplift of local artisans, handicrafts were made part of the 'thrust sectors' of the 'Rajasthan Investment Promotion Scheme-2019' and were also made eligible for additional benefits. (ANI)