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  • The State of The Indian Craft Industry

    The crafts sector of India’s economy employs over twenty million people, and it is second after the agriculture sector. Handicrafts, rightly described as the craft of the people, are a major source of income and employment for the people of India. The handicrafts sector is a home-based industry. This kind of work does not require extensive investment, training or machinery for production to begin.

    Image Credit - Newindianexpress.com Image Credit - Newindianexpress.com

    Craftsmen typically use ingenuity and raw materials existing within their surroundings to produce ornaments, fabrics or ceramics that can be sold. Many pastoral and agricultural communities within the country rely on traditional craft skills as a source of backup income in times of poor crop yields, famine, lean harvests or drought. Such traditional skills, handed down for generations, also constitute a vital source of income for women and are often the only way that communities can survive natural disasters.

    All these facts prove that the Indian craft industry vital component of the nation's economy, but though they are accurate, it is also true that the craft industry is in a state of decline. With the most recent evidence of this being the plight of the potters and sculptors of Bengaluru, considered by many to be the heart of pottery in India.

    The potters and sculptors worry that they could soon lose pottery town due to a decline in the market, and a scarcity of raw materials. This concern is well founded, the world today is one characterised by mass production, and economies of scale have resulted in a dramatic decline in price. New materials have further changed the industry, mass-produced products are stronger and more durable than natural ceramics. This is an unfortunate truth that we all must deal with.

    On a more positive note, there are still opportunities that craftspeople such as the potters and sculptors of pottery town can exploit to sustain their trade. Handcrafted wares are not cheap. Consider this, if there is even a little demand for a handcrafted product, why would it be cheaply priced.  Since it is unique and one of a kind, consumers should buy it at a higher price. Craftspeople should take advantage of current developments in internet marketing to explore the new market. Web-based artisan stores such as the E-repository launched by Poompuhar could provide much-needed exposure for handicraft makers.

    Though technology has caused some of the Indian handicraft industry's problems, it has also created many opportunities that should be exploited to ensure that it remains vibrant and profitable.

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