New Delhi, [India] : The AllIndia Artisans and Craftworkers Welfare Association (AIACA) organized the first Craft Kutumb- ShilpUdyam Samman Presentation Ceremony on the 19th of February 2021. The virtual award ceremony was held to support Indian craft businesses that have demonstrated potential to grow, scale and reach new and emerging markets. Prize money of two lakhs has been awarded to the deserving entrepreneurs, craft groups or organizations selected through established eligibility criteria and a competitive selection process. Further, all participating businesses will be part of an acceleration programme to build enterprise development capacities.Around 150 craft enterprises have participated in the awards process across the country.

AIACA also conducted an online panel discussion on Building Resilient Enterprises Post COVID on the same day to delve deeper into the problem facing the crafts sector in India.

The panel discussion was conducted to highlight the critical challenges faced by the Indian crafts sector such as cash flow crunches, wage losses, cancellation or withholding of orders, supply disruptions in the raw material value chain, and uncertainties regarding shipment (both domestic and export) post lockdown. The panel also offered recommendations for reviving Indian craft businesses, which include measures such as government assistance, reductions or deferrals in GST across categories, soft loans, and interest-free working capital loans to aid production and facilitate easy access to raw material supplies.

AIACA has worked with 150,000 artisans and craft producers across 23 states in the country to date. Since its inception, the association has been providing critical technical support across the crafts value chain to make craft-based businesses sustainable. It regularly conducts research to address the challenges faced by individual artisans and craft enterprises. Through its certification programmeCraftmark, it provides a seal of authenticity to genuine handmade craft processes; a certification that is recognized widely in India and globally.

Speaking at the event, MsSreyaMozumdar, ED, AIACA said, “India has an overwhelming presence of micro-craft enterprises that employ, on average, less than three workers. Over 80% of these enterprises are self-financed and a negligible percentage of the enterprises borrow from financial institutions. Since their operations are not as organized as a typical manufacturing enterprise, it affects their ability to access financing and credit from the formal financial sector. Through Craft Kutumb- ShilpUdyam Samman we aim at recognizing the commendable efforts of Indian craft businesses and also provide acceleration inputs to help them stabilise, scale and grow amidst the global pandemic. We hope our initiative will help Indian artisans and enterprises create business viability overall.”

She further added, “Since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, the crafts sector has seen widespread distress. This is an opportune time for us to stand up for the Indian artisan communitysupport crafts businessesby going ‘vocal for local’. We look forward to joining hands with allies and partners to drive this initiative through our Membership programme – the Craft Kutumb.”

Addressing the guests during the online event, Jamal Kidwai, Founder, Baragaon Weaves said, “The set of awards initiated by AIACA Craft Kutumb – ShilpUdyam Samman – celebrates the creativity of millions of Indian artisans and craftworkers. Such awards acknowledge, inspire, and sustain the entrepreneurial spirit within the crafts eco-system. Especially, post-pandemic, as craft enterprises recover their lost livelihoods, the awards will support potential craft businesses to revive and grow into a sustainable market.”

About AIACA:

The All India Artisans and Craftworkers Welfare Association (AIACA) is an apex body that works to promote market-led growth for India’s crafts sector for improving the living standards of crafts producers.

About Craft KutumbShilpUdyam Samman:

The ShilpUdyamSamman by Craft Kutumb is an initiative to accelerate craft businesses which have the potential to grow by providing a basket of holistic support, ranging from the capital, skills and entrepreneurship training, design and product development, anda more stable and regular marketing platform.