For overall growth of handicrafts products being produced by artisans, craftpersons and small and tiny entrepreneurs, EPCH since its inception has created infrastructural facilities in different craft clusters of the country in the form of Common facility centre, National Centre for Photo and Picture Framing Technology, Technology Upgradation Centre and Wood Seasoning Plant at Saharanpur, Trade Facilitation centre at Jodhpur, Handicraft Productivity Centre at Jaipur and National Centre for Design and Product Development, New Delhi etc. informed Rakesh Kumar, Director General – EPCH.

Kumar further informed Narsapur is an important craft cluster from the point of view of concentration of women artisans, producers and exporting community of lace products, Council has set-up International Lace Trade Centre [ILTC] at West Godavari District at Narsapuram with the support of O/o Development Commissioner [Handicrafts]under Comprehensive Handicrafts Cluster Development Scheme (CHCDS) of Ministry of Textiles.

The ILTC have facilities such as exhibition halls, auditorium, open air theatre, meeting rooms, ample facilities for craft bazaar, accommodation for buyers and designers besides administrative set-up etc. The objective of this Centre is to help craftpersons, artisans, producers and exporters in the East and West Godavari region of Andhra Pradesh to develop new designs, to adopt production techniques of lace products, its marketing and exports through exhibition and craft bazaar etc.

This centre also enable the producing and exporting community to interact with the foreign experts, designers and buyers with regard to product development and ultimate exports. It is estimated that more than one lakh women artisans are involved in making of lace products as part time for their livelihood. More than 80 per cent of the exports of lace products originate from the East and West Godavari region. The quality, workmanship and finish of lace products in Narsapur area is well-known in entire India and also in major global markets of US, Europe and Japan said Kumar.

Council has taken various initiatives for enhancing designs and quality of lace and lace products by organising skill development programme in different segments such as Training of valueadded skills on Crochet, Training on stitching and garmenting, Training of Dyeing, Training on Entrepreneurship Development Programs and Capacity Building. Apart from above, EPCH also arrange linkage of designers to the centre to help in develop new designs as prevalent in International markets and marketing linkages to the products being produced by artisans of Narsapur at various Internationals fairs such as IHGF-Delhi Fair, Reverse Buyer-seller meet at ILTC, International fairs during Heimtextil, Birmingham Spring fair in UK etc.

Kumar elaborated that EPCH is also going to set a dyeing unit at ILTC as the artisans have to travel very long for such services, which are available approx. 200 km away from Narsapur. Kumar informed that quantum jump in exports of lace and lace products has witnessed after the setting up of International Lace Trade Centre at Narsapur.

The exports of lace and lace products were to the tune of Rs. 17.75 cr in 2013-14 which has now reached to Rs. 26.57 cr in 2017-18. The overall handicrafts exports during the year 2018-19 is Rs. 26,590.25 cr [prov.] registering a growth of 15.46 per cent over the previous year, said Rakesh Kumar, Director General – EPCH.