Handicraft industry in Rajasthan explores domestic market to beat recession

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Jaipur, Aug 20 (ANI): Battered by the economic slowdown, handicraft exporters in Rajasthan now look to the domestic market to survive through the crisis.

The Indian domestic market remained largely unaffected by the global meltdown as compared with the rest of the world.

To tap the domestic market, the Federation of Rajasthan Handicraft Exporters (FRHE) for the first time organised a three-day handicraft fair in Birla Auditorium of Jaipur to provide a platform to sellers and buyers of handicraft.

Sunday is the last day of the expo in which about 100 exhibitors have showcased their world-class quality items, including blue pottery, ceramics, clay items, traditional furnishing items, textiles, jewellery, furniture artifacts.

All such items, which till now used to be destined overseas are being offered in the local market to whole sellers, retailers and even individual buyers.

Local market has been never been so attractive for these sellers.

"When we were earlier exporting, we did not pay any attention to the Jaipur or local market. This time because of the economic slowdown, we are attracted to domestic market and exploring it. We think if we tap the domestic market, our handicraft will survive and it will grow," said Pradeep Kumar Chabra, an exporter.

Dilip Vaid, Chairman, FRHE, visualises the domestic market to grow big in the next five years and many exporters will shift focus to domestic market from the international market.

"I will not be surprised when many exporters who call themselves as exporters will be focusing on domestic markets rather than international market. The best thing about our industry even in this difficult time is that every piece sold here has got a background of livelihood generated," said Vaid.

India has about 10.5 million artisans who solely rely on the handicraft industry for their livelihood. They carry with them the traditional know-how of making artifacts passed down from one generation to the other.

These artifacts which reflect Indian culture and tradition are quite often adapted to meet the requirements of changing lifestyle of people without losing their characteristics.

"We are in a period where people need things which are utilitarian. People need objects, which are lifestyle products. People also want products, which are part of our social culture. Still in India the wedding, the home, the community and festival and we need objects for each period of this time. And the handicraft sector can answer this need which is there," said Sangeeta Shroff, Director, Indian Institute of Crafts and Designs.

This year, the handicraft Industry in Rajasthan exported items worth Rs200 billion rupees handicraft and textile Rs150 billion less compared with the last fiscal year.

Exporters now feel that the Indian market has a great potential and if explored properly they can sail through the economic meltdown and maintain their profits. By Lokendra Singh (ANI)

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