Handicraft Industries in Rural India Economy

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The role of Handicraft Industries in Rural India Economy is very important and its contribution towards the rural economy of India is increasing steadily. The Ministry of Rural Development and the Ministry of Rural Economy, under Government of India are the two main governing authorities, which drafts and implements policies for the handicraft industries in rural India economy. The handicrafts industry of India comes under the unorganized sector of village economy of India.

India is basically an agriculture-based country and the development of rural economy of India depends upon the development of its 700-million strong rural population.

The rural economic policies of India is drafted according to the needs of rural India since, majority of the population (around 70%) lives in about 600,000 small villages. The rural India is almost wholly agriculture based and a small part of the rural Indian population is engaged with small industries like handlooms, handicrafts and other traditional produce. The role of Handicraft Industries in Rural India Economy became important, since today the organized sector of Indian industry is ready to absorb the products from these industries. Moreover, with liberal trade and export policy, the export of the Indian handicrafts industry is on an all time high.

The main products that are manufactured by the rural handicrafts industry of India are as follows -

  • Art metal wares
  • Wood wares
  • Hand printed & textiles & scarves
  • Embroidered & crocheted goods
  • Shawls as art wares
  • Zari and zari goods
  • Imitation jewelry
  • Miscellaneous handicrafts
The major importers of rural Indian handicrafts are as follows -

  • Art metal wares - USA, Germany, UK & Italy
  • Wood wares - USA, UK, Germany and France
  • Hand printed & textiles & scarves - USA, UK, Germany & Canada
  • Embroidered & crocheted goods - USA, Saudi Arabia, UK, Germany
  • Shawls as art wares - Saudi Arabia, USA, Japan & UK
  • Zari and zari goods - UK, USA, Japan & Saudi Arabia
  • Imitation jewelry - USA, UK, Saudi Arabia & Germany
  • Miscellaneous handicrafts - USA, Germany, UK & France
Presently, the global market of handicraft is valued at US$ 400 billion and India's share in the global market stands at 2% only. However, the handicraft industries in rural India economy registered an annual growth rate of 15% consistently over the last decade and it is estimated to grow at the rate of 42% over the next five years annually.

Although, the Handicraft Industries in Rural India Economy is witnessing steady growth over the last five years but its growth is plagued by certain bottlenecks, like the following -

  • The manufacturing process does not compliments with orders of such products
  • Use of primitive techniques
  • High manufacturing cost
  • Poor quality of products
  • Product design and development to be aligned with the background and history of the craft, the producer and the market requirements
  • Poor standard of raw materials
  • Lack of standardized vendor and suppliers
  • Lack of standardized raw materials
  • Improper pricing of finished products
  • Absence of proper incentives and schemes by the Government of India
  • Unorganized investment patterns and lack of regular investors
  • Lack of proper marketi8ng channels
  • Poor access to urban markets

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