HANDICRAFT EXPORTS CROSS TARGET
Date : 10 Apr 2003
Location : New Delhi
Exports of handicrafts from India have crossed the target by touching a record level of Rs. 8343.41 crore (i.e., US $ 1716.60 million or US $ 1.7 billion) in 2002-03. The target for the year was Rs. 7800 crore (i.e., US $ 1600 million). In comparison with the previous year 2001-02, handicraft exports have increased by 23.25% in rupee terms and 20.17% in dollar terms. India’s exports of handicrafts in 2001-02 were valued at Rs. 6769.50 crore (i.e., US $ 1428.47 million).
During the period, the exports of art metalware, woodware, handprinted textiles & services, embroidered & crochetted goods, shawls as artware, zari & zari goods, immitation jewellery & miscellaneous handicrafts showed an increasing trend of 23.10%, 18.40%, 20.05%, 28.25%, 21.07%, 18.97%, 18.09% and 21.37% in rupee terms respectively and 20.03%, 15.44%, 17.04%, 25.05%, 17.64%, 15.98%, 15.32% and 18.32% in US dollar terms respectively.
Handicrafts exports have increased to record levels over the past decade from a meagre Rs. 387 crore in 1986-87 to Rs. 8343 crore during 2002-03. At the 44th annual celebrations of the Handicrafts Exporters Association of India, it was indicated that handicrafts continued to be a major thrust area of India’s exports. The global interest in Indian handicrafts was reflected in the success of the recently held Handicrafts and Gifts Fair which generated business worth as much as Rs. 800 crore, according to the Handicrafts Export Promotion Council. The government’s liberal policy initiatives in recent years have given a major push to handicrafts exports.
On the future perspectives for this important export sector, Shri C.R. Rai, Chairman of the Handicrafts Exporters Association, has urged that the handicraft exporters be completely exempted from VAT. The Association has also urged that income tax benefits on the lines of benefits being extended to Export Oriented Units (EOUs) and Special Economic Zones (SEZs) be given to other exporters also, especially the handicraft and the textile sectors which were heavily employment oriented.
Some of the other suggestions made by the Association to enable rapid growth of the Indian handicraft sector include investment to improve infrastructure in the country such as power and transportation including road transport as well as railways and seaports; reform of labour laws; and simplified system for fixing of DEPB rates. Members of the Association have been attending Public Grievances Committee Meetings at the Delhi Customs to bring to the notice of the Customs authorities matters of importance for handicrafts exports and suggested introduction of EDI system in Customs houses.