Handicrafts are unique expressions and represent a culture, tradition and heritage of a country. The Handicraft Industry is one of the important productive sector. Various attempts have been made to define this broad and diversified industry.
Handicrafts can be defined as products which are produced either completely by hand or with the help of tools. Mechanical tools may be used as long as the direct manual contribution of the artisan remains the most substantial component of the finished product. Handicrafts are made from raw materials and can be produced in unlimited numbers. Such products can be utilitarian, aesthetic, artistic, creative, culturally attached, decorative, functional, traditional, religiously and socially symbolic and significant.
The Importance of Handicrafts
The Cultural Importance: Handicrafts play very important role in representing the culture and traditions of any country or region. Handicrafts are a substantial medium to preserve of rich traditional art, heritage and culture, traditional skills and talents which are associated with people’s lifestyle and history.
The Economic Importance: Handicrafts are hugely important in terms of economic development. They provide ample opportunities for employment even with low capital investments and become a prominent medium for foreign earnings.
An Overview of Indian Handicrafts
The Indian handicrafts industry is highly labor intensive, cottage based and decentralized industry. The industry is spread all over the country mainly in rural and urban areas. Most of the manufacturing units are located in rural and small towns, and there is huge market potential in all Indian cities and abroad. Handicraft industry is a major source of income for rural communities.
The Handicraft sector is highly creative sector and produces large variety of crafts products. This industry is localized segment of the domestic and international market. In India the production of craft products are done on both large and small scale. Because of low capital investment people can start their business on small scale.
Though Indian Handicraft industry is considered a cottage industry, but it has evolved as one of the major revenue generator over the years. There has been consistent growth of 15% over few years and the industry has evolved as one of the major contributor for export and foreign revenue generation.
The Indian Handicraft Industry stands a unique place among all other industries. It represents the rich culture, tradition and heritage of India. India’s rich cultural diversity and heritage provides a unique and huge resource for developing craft products.
The Indian Handicraft Industry is showing continuous growth rate of 20% every year and it is one of the most important segment of decentralized sector in India. Also, it has shown continuous growth at the rate of 15-20% over the years and contributes major role for export and foreign earnings. The export earnings from Indian handicrafts industry for the period 1998-99 amounted to US$ 1.2 billion