Handicrafts Sector in India. The handicraft sector in India does not only provide employment for the development of economy but it also provides an opportunity for self-expression for the artisans. Handicraft sector is a labour intensive and eco-friendly sector with great potential for employment generation and foreign exchange earnings. Handicrafts sector is very important for our Indian society because it represents our Indian culture, tradition, and heritage. Handicraft sector is directly related to the economy of rural India that means the growth of handicraft sector is directly proportionate to rural development in India, and downfall is the mirror image of rural economy as well as the economy as a whole.
In this article, we have tried to analyze why the sector is one of the promising and productive sectors in India economy and what is the contribution of handicraft as foreign inflow to the Indian economy, and its growth, and decline through last fifteen years.
India is a diverse economy encompasses of agriculture, agribusiness, a wide range of modern industries, and the multitude of services sectors, categorized under private and public sectors. But due to the availability of abundant natural resources, favourable climate and art of agribusiness, India after independence have shown more trust to invest in agricultural for the development of its agro-based economy.
Fundamentally India economy relies on agricultural and its allied industries that are agribusiness industries (by agribusiness we mean collective business activities that are performed from farm to fork) it includes textile, silk, handicrafts, and other small-scale industries. This agro-based sector has shown huge growth since independence, it contributes ½ of the total economy of the country and most of the people generate their livelihood from this sector.
Agribusiness is one of the main sources of employment all over the world, especially in developing nations. In developing countries, most of the people live in rural areas and are directly dependent on the agribusiness industries. Similarly, in India majority of the population (70%) living in about 600,000, small villages mostly depends upon the agriculture and small-scale informal-industries which articulates that the development of India holistically relies more on upliftment and enhancement of rural India through civilizing the agriculture and agribusiness sector. That is the development of its 700-million strong rural populations needs better economic policies and best source of employment by making the existing opportunities further stronger.
Even though there are many allied sectors of agriculture with excellent growth but after agriculture, if there is any other sector which has shown continuous optimistic growth since independence in generating revenue for the nation and employment for the rural people, that is the handicraft sector.
Handicraft in India
Handicrafts can be defined as products which are produced either completely by hand or with the help of tools. Mechanical tools may be used as long as the direct manual contribution of the artisan remains the most substantial component of the finished product.The Indian handicrafts industry is highly labour intensive, cottage-based and decentralized.
The industry is spread all over the country from east to west and from north to south, most of the manufacturing units are located in rural and in small towns. The handicraft sector technically and statistically forms the second largest source of employment in India. It was having 23 million people engaged in this industry in the year 2002. Further, the employment increased from 65.72 lakh in 2005-06 to 76.17 lakh in 2010-11 and is growing continuously with employing mixed population in the sector. Handicraft sector got a boost since the new Economic Philosophy of Inclusive Growth has been initiated as a route to success towards sustainability by the government of India.
Handicraft and its Export Character
Due to globalization as there is tough competition in handicraft production which has been more commercialized. In many cases, artisans are out of touch with those end markets which presents a challenge to those seeking to export their products. But still, it is one of the important contributors to the foreign exchange earnings and generation of employment after agriculture. The exports are continuously growing and are expected to touch USD 400 million marks in 2015. The demand for the handicraft products from the point of international trade theory is because of interesting oddity and many other reasons like the comparative advantage both in the demand and supply. Being labour intensive it helps in the reduction of unemployment and the wages farmed in this sector are more than what the wage earner earns in the agricultural and its allied sector. In case of Indian scenario handicrafts is playing an important role not only in the employment generation and foreign exchange earnings, but also helps in increasing the living standard of its rural people as it gives employment both men and women, those who are doing well in the handicraft and handloom business are enterprising and are moving with the time.