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What Do You Know About The Trade And Business Of Kashmir?

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Surplus handicrafts from small domiciles embark on increasing growth rates and the economy of the Northern parts of the country.                          

The Serene Valley Of Chaos

The tropical range of the Himalayan mountains where tranquility and placidity in the form of trees and mountains resides and is covered under the newly formed Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir on one side, the other is yet to discover a lot more talent of art and craft. Handicrafts and textiles present the art and culture of one community in terms of its utility and beauty.

The habitation of Jammu and Kashmir are not well-versed with the contemporary times because of poor connectivity and infrastructure, shallow markets and law and order of the military forces and statutory governing bodies. But still, their talent for making unique and high-quality handicrafts under poor working conditions and lack of technology has made it globally famous.

Central Kashmir including Srinagar, Gandebal, and Budgam are the hub of the art and craft. Men and women on an equal basis rely on this tradition for their livelihood and sustainability. But due to economic and political obstacles, the businesses have taken a huge dip. No investment from the private sector and industrial backwardness are other reasons for unemployment and lack of exposure.

power looms and industrialization decrease the demand of handlooms in Kashmir
Will power looms and industrialization decrease the demand of handlooms in Kashmir?

Handicraft Industry Of The Valley - What Do You Know About The Trade And Business Of Kashmir?

Businesses have suffered a lot but the handicraft industry still ascends its growth with good statistics. The data available shows that the surplus of goods from Jammu and Kashmir valley are exported and adds up to the income and economic growth. As there has been a great contribution to the GDP of the state. 

This industry contributes a lot to the National Income (NI) and State Gross Domestic Product (SGDP). It holds an important position in the economy although it is labor-intensive and less capital intensive. Around 8500 persons have trained annually under 533 training centers and acquire the mastery over the art of weaving and craft making. Kashmiri art and crafts promise to provide quality craftsmanship, worldwide fame, attractive and functional designs.

Famous Kashmiri handicrafts include carpets, shawls, embroidery, costume, jewelry, Kani shawls, chain stitch, papier machie, and Namda. Each of the techniques is labor-intensive and requires a lot of time to be completed under low wage income sources. They earned their learnings over a period of time under the experts who are their family members only.

Growing stats of export of the carpets and shawls of Kashmir gives livelihood to the weavers
Growing stats of export of the carpets and shawls of Kashmir gives livelihood to the weavers

As per the records, Kashmir exports for the year 2016-2017 reached up to the numbers at INR 1,151 crores and experienced an increase of 92 crores. Major areas of textiles like carpets which marked the total export of INR 369.81 crores, shawls at INR 304.50 crores, crewel at INR 414.11 crores and paper machie at INR 50.36 crores and experienced an increase of 30-40% of the total from the last financial year. Kashmiri art and craft holds an important place in other parts of the country who are fond of Indian handicrafts, especially Europe and the USA which holds 60% of the total country’s export of handicrafts.

The list is long in defining the export destinations at an approximate value in INR. It starts with the US which accounts for approx. 37,054 INR per day, Sweden at 2,25,675 INR per day, United Kingdom at 1,10,340 INR per day, Denmark at 19,872 INR per day, South Africa at 60,957 INR per day, UAE at 24,910 INR per day, Russia at 1500 INR per day, Qatar at 574 INR per day, Australia at 16,450 INR per day, Iran at 29,598 INR per day and goes on to Lebanon at 10,544 INR per day. The approximate values which account for 3-4 times a day transactions, holds the major trade figures as compared to the national exports.

Toosh generally available in the same color as the wool
Toosh generally available in the same color as the wool

Indian Government Initiatives

There have been several promotional ideas by the government to preserve Indian heritage and culture. There have been promotional sales idea to enhance the Kashmiri trade by organizing expos/ exhibitions and craft bazaars in the local markets. Various schemes have been initiated by the government to protect the artisans and their art and craft.

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Indian Government schemes for weavers
Indian Government schemes for weavers and handloom may benefit the Kashmiri weavers after abolishing of Article 370 and 35(A)

Schemes like Artisan Credit Card Scheme (ASCC) under which Indian Banking Associations provides timely and adequate funds for the upliftment of woman for their work in the rural and urban areas. Research and Development Scheme acknowledges the problems faced by the artisans regarding their facilities, collection of raw materials, design and working conditions. Design and Technology up-gradation Scheme which aims to provide the innovative skills to the artisans for their work expansion from different departments of designs. Export Promotion Schemes which forces on the enhancement of export of the handicraft to the other parts of the world.

The valley apart from its scenic beauty is also known for its craft and embroidery
The valley apart from its scenic beauty is also known for its craft and embroidery

 IKF Desk On What Do You Know About The Trade And Business Of Kashmir?

Great figures have been recorded under the statistics of the export of Kashmiri handicrafts but this craft is still not recognized by many. With unemployment in the valley and poor conditions of the weavers and craftsmen there is a hope that after the abolishing of Article 370 and 35 (A), the Indian Government will take steps other than the above to uplift their art and improve their quality of life. But on the other hand, a major question arises, with industrialization will the handloom section of Kashmir see the same decline as that witnessed by the Indian Weavers?

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