The Handicrafts Sector plays a significant & important role in the country’s economy. It provides employment to a vast segment of craft-persons in rural & semi urban areas and generates substantial foreign exchange for the country, while preserving its cultural heritage. Handicrafts have great potential, as they hold the key for sustaining not only the existing set of millions of artisans spread over length and breadth of the country, but also for the increasingly large number of new entrants in the crafts activity. Presently, handicrafts contribute substantially to employment generation and exports. The Handicraft sector has, however, suffered due to its being unorganized, with the additional constraints of lack of education, low capital, and poor exposure to new technologies, absence of market intelligence, and a poor institutional framework. In spite of these constraints, sector has witnessed a significant growth of 3 % annually. Some of the promising areas in the crafts sector during the Xth Five Year Plan had been:
- Exports continued to grow for high value-added crafts products.
- Consumer tastes changed rapidly on account of economic liberalization.
- Focus on quality and product diversification with increasing consumer awareness.
- Increasing challenge offered by availability of mass-produced competing product lines using different raw materials (often man-made) and mechanized production techniques.
- Government policy envisaged a greater role for NGOs, and participation of private resources both human & financial.