Union Minister of Textiles Dr. Kavuru Sambasiva Rao has asked the exporting community to double the handicrafts exports and develop new markets.
"India cannot afford to concentrate only few regions so as to avoid situations like recession in main markets. The Minister emphasized for a great need to make all out efforts to diversify the direction of exports to other regions and particularly to Latin American Countries, Central Asia and East Europe including CIS regions," Rao said while addressing 19th Export Awards function, organized by Export Promotion Council for handicrafts (EPCH), in New Delhi on Tuesday evening.
While distributing export awards, the Minister specifically mentioned that out of the total exports of handicrafts which is USD 3.3 billion about 70 percent of the export of handicrafts is confined to European Union and USA.
He pointed out that exports of handicrafts to other regions of the world have comparatively been low than desired.
The Minister also stressed upon the need for design and product development in line with the need of the market by spending more money on new designs, research, product adaptation and product development and re-orient the strategy to suit the new markets. He assured the Handicrafts exporters the support of the Ministry of Textiles for making all these efforts to penetrate into new markets.
While addressing the strong gathering of handicrafts exporters from all over the country, Dr. Rao pointed out the stiff competition with South Asian Countries like Vietnam, Cambodia and Philippines in respect to bulk supplies to departmental stores and to large buyers.
He reiterated that handicrafts exporters should upgrade their technology for mass production of handicrafts on the lines of South East Asian Countries so that India is able to keep up its exports growth.
Dr. Rao also mentioned on the competition from machine made Chinese gifts and decorative to the traditional handmade uniquely crafted Indian Handicrafts and expressed confidence that with the Council's focused approach the sector will be able to not only withstand competition from China but also make inroads into the major markets.
Minister assured the exporters that he would take up all issues concerning the problems of exporters with the concerned ministry and in particular with Ministry of Finance and other bodies to make their export operation much smoother to achieve targets.
Rao along with Sheila Dikshit, Chief Minister of NCT of Delhi presented 65 awards to Handicrafts exporters for their excellent export performance attained by them during the year 2011-12.
Panabaaka Lakshimi, Union Minster of State for Textiles reiterated the financial support offered by Ministry of Textiles in various projects for the Handicrafts sector in creation of infrastructure for production, design development and marketing of handicrafts in aggressive manner.
Secretary Textiles Zohra Chatterji spoke about the initiative of creating Sector Skill Council for Handicrafts and Carpets so as to cater to the skill needs of the sector across various craft clusters and, thereby, increasing productivity.
She also spoke about setting up of Textile Sector Innovation Council in order to understand and analyze the innovation quotient to identify the challenges and opportunities in the Textiles Sector.
Lekhraj Maheshwari, Chairman, EPCH informed that the exports of Handicrafts during the period April -June, 2013-14 have registered a growth of 12.49 percent in USD terms over the same period last year and have reached USD 665.24 million.
The export target for the year 2013-14 has been set at USD 3842 million, he added.