While there are more than 1.5 lakh handicraft artisans in the State, inclusive developmental plans are not formulated for the artisans.
Looking into the requirement of the handicraft artisans, the Government of Odisha has decided to go for a detailed census on the artisans, which is needed as there is hardly any data base of these people.
Sources in the Department of Handlooms, Textiles and Handicrafts (DoHTH) said a proposal was sent to the Union Ministry of Textiles (MoT) for approving such census, which is required for preparing an inclusive developmental plan for the artisans.
However, the proposal is yet to be approved by the MoT, for which census could not be conducted, sources added.
Similarly, it was proposed to issue identity cards to the handicraft artisans and the Development Commissioner, Handicrafts, was approached by the DoHTH. The initiative was to cover the entire handicraft artisan community spread over the State.
While the handicraft artisans are visiting several States and Union Territories during national and international handicraft exhibitions, during those events the identity card will come handy for their identification. The MoT was to issue the identity cards and several MPs have approached the Union Government in this regard.
Similarly, setting up of a craft village at Sukhuapada-Lalitgiri was proposed by the State Government in interest of the artisans and visiting tourists. Lalitgiri is a famous international tourist centre and setting up a craft village on the lines of Raghurajpur will go a long way in promoting handicraft and tourism in the State. Sukhuapada-Lalitgiri is famous for stone carving cluster, which falls in the international Buddhist circuit.
Lalitgiri and Sukhuapada are adjacent to each other and the zone is emerging as a major tourist centre with focus on Lalitgiri museum set up by the Archeological Survey of India. The peoples’ representatives have been pressing the matter for quite some time; however, the MoT is yet to take a call on the matter, said sources.
Another proposal pending with the MoT is for reintroduction of 10 per cent rebate on handloom fabrics. Due to various reasons, the handloom fabrics face stiff competition for marketing. And, there is a mindset among the customers of handloom products to avail rebate. The Government of India was implementing a scheme to allow 10 per cent rebate on sale of handloom cloth, which has been discontinued since 2008-09.