Indian Handicrafts Industry

#GS3 #Industry


  • The Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH) advised against the mandatory quarantine for visiting British nationals. 
  • The decision according to them, could hurt efforts to attain the government’s record $400 billion target for exports this year.
  • Since the U.K. is the largest export market for India’s handicraft exports, which stood at ₹25,680 crore in 2020-21, recording a growth even in the COVID-19 pandemic hit-year, as per EPCH data, it is important to maintain the status-quo.
  • The mandatory quarantine will adversely impact the Indian Handicrafts and Gifts Fair, which is the Council’s bi-annual flagship program to attract overseas buyers and secure new orders, , scheduled to take place from October 28 to 31. 


  • Our country has a large range of handicrafts. Almost all the state of the country has its unique handicrafts. 
  • This traditional art was passed on hereditarily. These handicrafts have the potential of sustaining the artisans economically.
  • To be called handicrafts, according to the Supreme Court, it must be predominantly made by hand. The involvement of some machinery does not matter. It must be graced with visual appeal in the matter of ornamentation or inlay work or some similar work lending it an element of artistic improvement. Such orientation must be of a substantial nature and not a mere pretence.
  • Approximately 70 lakh people are involved in the handicraft industry of India, which includes 20 lakh artisans related to the carpet sector, practicing more than 500 types of crafts such as Metal Engraving, Zari Zardosi, Teracotta, Stone Carving, Phulkari, Wood Inlay, Chikankari, Cane and Bamboo, Wooden Toys, Blue Pottery and Kutch Embroidery.
  • 35 crafts have been recognized as “Endangered Crafts” such as: 
    1. Assamese Jewellery 
    2. Rogan Painting 
    3. Sanjhi Crafts
    4. Ganjeefa Cards 
    5. Chamba Rumal 
  • 92 crafts has GI tag: 
    1. Ganjifa cards of Mysore
    2. Kashmir Paper Machie
    3. Madhubani paintings
    4. Kathputlis of Rajasthan
    5. Odisha pattachitra
    6. Varanasi Glass beads 
    7. Warli painting of Maharashtra.
  • 56% of the artisans are women.

Role of Handicrafts in Indian Economy

  1. The Indian cottage industry, apart from providing employment to the rural artisans also builds a parallel rural economy.
  2. The handicraft industry generates substantial foreign exchange for the country and preserves the cultural heritage of our country. India is one of the important suppliers of handicrafts to the world market.
  3. Craft products exported to various countries form a part of lifestyle products in the international market.
  4. These crafts persons need an institutional support at their places of work i.e., craft pockets for value addition and for the edge with other competitors like China, Korea, Thailand etc.
  5. There is a high demand for Indian crafts in the domestic and international markets.
  6. A total of 199 lines of products are now being produced and exported from India. India has been a large exporter of handicrafts over the years and the exports trend has been increasing year by year.
  7. The top ten countries contributing to export of handicrafts items(major items being art metal wares, wood wares, hand printed textiles, embroidered and crocheted goods) during the last five years are USA, U.A.E., United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, France, Australia, Italy, Canada, Latin American countries, Japan and Switzerland. 
  8. India is the world’s largest producer and exporter of handmade carpets since 2013-14.
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