India Plans to Open Handloom Stores Abroad - The New Indian Express

India Plans to Open Handloom Stores Abroad

Published: 04th September 2014 03:32 PM

Last Updated: 04th September 2014 03:35 PM

HYDERABAD: India is planning to open handloom stores abroad and is in the process of pooling artisans to work on contemporary and export-oriented designs, a top government official said here today.

"As far as the exports market is concerned, we are trying to explore new markets and look for some of the franchise model over there...also to open our own stores and we are working on that. It will take some time before we can put it into operation," Development Commissioner (Handlooms), Ministry of Textiles, Dinesh Kumar said.

Handicrafts and Handloom Exports Corporation of India as well as Handloom Export Promotion Council are working in that direction, he said.

"So, we are trying to put designers into clusters so as to make different kinds of designs which are contemporary and acceptable in the export market. Things are taking place. But growth rate... I think over a period of time we should see some upswing," Kumar said.

Referring to the Indian market, he said though the number of looms has declined over the years, the amount of cloth that has been weaved has increased.

"There is a reduction in domestic looms much more than commercial looms. People are now spending more number of days per annum on the loom and it is getting slightly commercialised. Value addition is taking place and perhaps it is moving in the direction where it can become sustainable and we should be able to see that the number stays and then it takes off from there," he added.

The official also stressed the need for handloom sector to go in for more and more diversified products and contemporary designs with focus on colour consciousness.

"There is lot of demand in the domestic market as well as in the export market provided we are able to provide right kind of design and right kind of fashion," Kumar said.

He added: "We are trying to highlight that handloom is eco-friendly...as well as skin-friendly. It also takes care of our tradition, culture and heritage."

 Efforts are on for a brand campaign to give a boost to the handloom sector. "We are working on it. I won’t say it has come up on a take-off stage...we have been saying that we need to create an Indian handloom brand," Kumar said.

Speaking on the initiatives to promote the handloom sector, he said: "We are now working on the online marketing and on that we have an MoU understanding with (E-retailing major) Flipkart.

"Flipkart will be going to the primary societies and they put their products on their website. They will receive the orders and collect the material and pack it and send it (to customers) after charging 3 to 4 per cent of service charges for that.

"That should really provide a good opening for the weavers because I presume that it should remove the middlemen and they (weavers) should be able to get the value for their products."

On the MoU with Flipkart signed on August 25, he said the first meeting with the societies is slated to take place in Varanasi on September 15.

"We will be taking up in two-three more clusters and we will see the initial response and thereafter we will expand," he added.

As per the MoU, Flipkart will provide an online marketing platform to handloom weavers from across the country, a move that will help artisans tap the growing number of online shoppers. The company has also agreed to help weavers produce items as per the buyers' requirement.

Kumar also said the Textiles Ministry has sought from the government some special concession to handloom products and if that gets through, perhaps exports may further increase.

"We have been in discussion with the Commerce Ministry and once their export policy comes out we have to see whether on all those things what we wanted have really come out in that or not. This will help in export of the handloom products and ultimately the weavers," he added.

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