Creating a roadmap for survival and protection of handloom & handicrafts
F ICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO) organised an interactive session on 'Handloom & Handicraft: Survival and Integration into the Mainstream' on May 12, 2015 in New Delhi. The panelists were Wajahat Habibullah, former Chief Information Commissioner, Government of India; Jaya Jaitly, Social Activist & Chairperson, Dastkari Haat Samiti; Ritu Kumar, Renowned Fashion Designer and Laila Tyabji, Founder Member and Chairperson, Dastkar.
The panel discussion was organised to highlight the way forward for creating a holistic plan for handlooms and handicrafts, and also ideating on creating better market linkages and livelihood for craftspeople.
In her welcome address, Archana Garodia Gupta, President, FLO, said, “It is very important that we understand the true potential of handlooms & handicrafts and its significant role in providing employment to a vast segment of craftsperson and preserve the intangible heritage of our country. FLO has taken this opportunity to bring together a panel of stalwarts from the field and provide a platform for discussing, ideating and highlighting various issues that affect the handloom & handicraft sector.”
Jyotsna Kaur Habibullah, Day Chair & Chapter Chairperson, FLO Lucknow-Kanpur Chapter, presented an overview of the programme and highlighted FLO's perspective. She said that there has been a renewed interest in the handmade and handcrafted products globally and India has a rich and diverse array of crafts. She added that these languishing crafts need resurgence to meet the contemporary standards, resulting in creating better and wider markets. The necessity of providing the right market and financial linkages, training to upgrade their skills, boosting the exposure to modern technology and enhancing their designs, was underlined by Habibullah.
The panelists shared their experiences in the field and suggested ways to exploit the potential of these sectors in a more structured way and provide the necessary boost to preserve,
promote and integrate the invaluable traditional skills.
Wajahat Habibullah, former Chief Information Commissioner, Government of India and former Secretary, Ministry of Textiles, was the moderator of the session. He mentioned that the Government of India has numerous schemes for the benefit of craftsperson in terms of skill development, financing schemes, cluster formation etc., but due to dearth of effective publicity and lack of awareness, these schemes have not been able to assist the beneficiaries. While emphasising on the need for a more effective model to reach out to the target audience, he cited the example of Thailand, wherein villages become economic clusters and act as the access to technical and financial know-how for the villages.
Jaya Jaitly, Social Activist & Chairperson, Dastkari Haat Samiti, who has been an avid promoter and champion of India's arts and crafts cottage industries, provided key insights to the sector and stressed on an effective Public Private Partnership model to provide the right boost to these sectors. “A self-sustaining model is the best model for promoting handloom and handicrafts. Small producers come together and combine their energy to make it most viable. Under such model, three Bazaars being organised by small producers in the last three to four months, gave an overwhelming sales figure of Rs. 10 crore, which is remarkable”, said Jaitly.
Renowned fashion designer, Ritu Kumar shared her experiences and stressed the importance for creating the right market linkage and enhancing the connection between craftsmen and market requirement. “It is important to customise what is being produced by hand skills to what is required by the current market and future market. The designing needs to be upgraded to meet the contemporary standards,” she added.
Laila Tyabji, Founder Member and Chairperson, Dastkar, a Delhibased non-governmental organisation, working for the revival of traditional crafts in India was very articulate with her experiences and suggestions for the survival of the crafts. “Handlooms are the one area where India leads the world in skill, creativity and expertise. Handloom creates distinctive weaves and designs that no powerloom can replicate. Indian handloom is more than a potential global economic force; it is also our identity. It needs to be protected,” said Tyabji.
L to R: Vinita Bimbhet, Senior Vice President, FLO; Ritu Kumar, Renowned Fashion Designer; Wajahat Habibullah, former Chief Information Commissioner, Government of India; Archana Garodia Gupta, President, FLO; Jaya Jaitly, Social Activist & Chairperson, Dastkari Haat Samiti; Jyotsna Kaur Habibullah, Day Chair & Chapter Chair, FLO Lucknow-Kanpur Chapter; Laila Tyabji, Founder Member and Chairperson, Dastkar and Dr. Manju Kalra Prakash, Executive Director, FLO.
Archana Garodia Gupta, President, FLO, addressing a session.