Historically and factually, the Indian handicraft business has been the Mecca of unique artistic crafts. India has always been "Aatmanirbhar" (Self reliant) because of our rich culture and tradition.
But with the passage of time, demand for Chinese products and factory-made items is one of the major reasons that the customers do not mind buying an inferior quality for a cheaper price. With the lack of knowledge of the authentic source, the consumers are easily fooled. Many a times when we try to bargain, we are unknowingly asking the artisans to cut short their skills, self-esteem and their on-going struggle to keep the tradition alive.
The policy makers of India looks at the small and medium scale industry as a sunset industry because they think these industries are less relevant to fully leverage the demographic dividend which is technology-driven. So, they have increased the taxes for these products. As per the GST (Goods and Service Tax), there is 5% tax on raw yarn and 5% on products. In addition, the supplier charges 5% on the yarn which it gives to the maker; and after making the final product including warping and twisting, the tax goes to 23%.
Less people know that the workshops is mostly in some of the remote regions of India which is difficult to even locate under Google Maps. It is almost impossible for the craftspeople to sell their art in the urban market because of several reasons like lack of transport, difficult to carry bulky item and unable to link with sellers, poor network, etc.
As a consumer, we should be #vocalforlocal!! Here's how to do it:
Ask the source of the product from the maker to get to know the real worth of the product. These ages old indigenous crafts are the snapshots of our culture; for example, Worli art is existing since 2500 BC!! It is our responsibility to restore it.
In India, handicraft industry provides great employment especially to the rural parts. A total of 68.86 Lakh handicraft artisans are the alchemists of their work, in which 38 Lakh artisans are women.
The village handicraft family earns their bread and butter out of their work; and because of their non-popularity the rural youth are dissuading from joining their homegrown business.
They have the potential of reviving in no time but till then, it is imperative for us to take a stand for them at this tumultuous time and educating the customers to focus on the quality of the product rather than the price.
So, we are trying to do our part. Abhivyakti team will be sharing their stories so that you know the maker and feel closer to their art form.