In the wake of the COVID-19 situation, almost all industries stand stuck. One such industry that is worst stuck by the pandemic is the Indian Handicraft and Handloom sector. These are testing times for the craftsmen and weavers. It goes beyond the fear of a possible mortal disease for them.
The biggest fear is the slowdown of all social activities. This is especially true for the craftsmen and artisans, whose lives are dependent on daily production and sales. Without any expos or regular orders – sales have come to an absolute halt. Thousands of artisan communities across
India are in a crisis, and it has left the artisan families wondering what will get them first – the virus or hunger?
Impact on the Handicrafts sector
This pandemic resulted in a loss of economy and rise in unemployment. The fear of touch has had a devastating impact on the handicrafts sector, as any work that was ‘touched by human hands’ began to be shunned in dread of the lethal virus spreading.
Most of the artisans at the grass-root have been out of work, stocks have accumulated and the sector is facing a severe cash crunch since production has entirely stopped. The artisans have no funds to reinvest and thus, are struggling to make ends meet.
Indian handicrafts industry constitutes an important segment of the Indian
economy, as it is one of the largest employment generators after agriculture. According to the provisional data available from EPCH (Export Promotion Council of Handicrafts), the exports of handicrafts have shown a decrease of ₹ 4486.70 Crores from ₹12912.34 to ₹ 8425.64 Crores, a steep decrease of 34.75%.
Sustainability in Current Times
Sustainability refers to the capacity to support a factor at a particular rate or level and the avoidance of the reduction of essential resources in order to maintain a balance.
To ensure the sustainability of the crafts sector, there is an immediate requirement for capital assistance in the form of allowances or loans to artisans for restarting the production.
On the other hand, it’s important that demand is generated for the products with appropriate market linkage, so that the artisans can confidently get back to work without worrying about unsold inventory.
We sell their crafts online as return gifts for weddings, housewarming, etc., and also as festive gifts for Varalakshmi Puja, Navratri and Diwali. The One Shop also positions handicrafts for corporate gifting, with personalised packaging.
Together, we can impact the artisans positively and ensure the continuity of Indian crafts.