Posted on 23.4.2013
Renowned Bengal Handicraft in Need of Urgent Reforms
By Dipjyoti Das
Media Hive News Network
For decades now, Bengal has had a rich cultural legacy of handicrafts which is renowned throughout the world for its architectural splendor and creative beauty. It’s wide varieties of products ranging from household utility items, to gift items and interior decoration has infused an element of grace and elegance to an otherwise harsh and drab human life. Handicraft artisans are mostly populated in villages, towns and Semi-urban areas and have created a niche for themselves in the field of art and craft.
Pottery, brass and copperware, embroidery, tapestry, hand looms, fine muslin and silk artistry, wood carving, cane works etc. are a few examples of handicrafts which have blossomed across various districts of the state. However the situation in is not at all congenial in the region, since in recent times the sector has suffered from various problems like lack of advanced training facilities, capital, poor exposure to new technologies, absence of effective marketing infrastructure and poor institutional framework. The urban customers don’t always have access to many of the handicraft products. There is also an increase use of mass produced goods which are steadily replacing the utility items of the daily use made by the craftsmen.
A major chunk of rural population are dependent on there livelihood through this art, so there is an immediate need to address the deficiencies of the sector in a systematic manner. The government and the concerned departments have taken certain steps and measures but more needs to be done in regards to this aspect and resolve the critical gaps to ensure its further progress and development in a broader context. Production and marketing is couple of important areas which could contribute towards a faster pace of rural industrialization. Schemes for training and design development and for production and marketing assistance should be given encouragement. It is also extremely important to remember that the sector is a major contributor and backbone of the state’s economy.
Considering the importance of this sector from the point of view of employment and exports, the Government must provide an integrated development thrust to this sector with a view to enlarging the production base, thus enhancing the opportunities for employment and income through crafts as an economic activity and to give it necessary inputs for quality improvement and effective marketing support both internal and overseas.
To be precise emphasis should be given to extending services like supply of raw materials, design and technical guidance, market support, training and procuring of related materials/inputs in an integrated and area-based manner through the setting up of craft development centers in identified clusters of villages and market development support in the form of a package of assistance through expansion of marketing infrastructure, exhibitions, publicity, etc., through Central and State Handicrafts Corporations, voluntary organizations and support to direct marketing activity by craft persons.
The above schemes will help at promoting the state’s handicrafts by developing artisan’s clusters into professionally managed and self-reliant community enterprises on the principles of effective member participation and mutual cooperation. The main thrust is on a projective, need based approach for integrated development of potential handicrafts clusters with participation of the craft persons at all stages of implementation of the scheme with the ultimate objective of their empowerment and hence sustainability.
(Views expressed are personal. The writer can be contacted at email@example.com)
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