NEW DELHI: Traditional artisans, known for their handicrafts at home and abroad, will soon be registered under the intellectual property right under an ambitious programme of the government to promote the Make in India campaign.
The move will not only improve the financial condition of the artisans, most of who live a life of obscurity, but also establish an indigenous identity of the handmade products and a geographical indication, preventing theft of intellectual property within and outside India.
Speaking to The Sunday Standard, Minister of Minority Affairs, Najma Heptulla, said her ministry is holding consultations with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and is in touch with the exporters to help improve the market of the famed India-made handicrafts abroad, which as per an estimate is worth $100 billion in the global market.
She, however, refused to comment on the recent controversy around her nephew actor Aamir Khan. She said her government would continue to work for the betterment of all sections.
Turning her attention to the artisans, a sizeable number of whom belong to the minority community, she said patenting their works and providing them good returns is the main focus of her ministry.
“We are in talks with the commerce ministry and with exporters to lend their support. We have handmade jute works, marble products, exquisitely woven sarees, wood works, wrought-iron products from different regions that have a good international market. They are the ones to project the Make in India drive. This is indigenous Indian knowledge. With the patenting, we want to ensure no one outside India could lay a claim on them,” she said.
Handicraft industry is one of the biggest employers in India and according to a study, 13 million artisans—mostly women and people from economically weaker sections—are engaged in this sector.