Smriti Zubin Irani, Union Minister of Textiles, distributed export awards for excellence in exports to Handicrafts exporters for the year 2015-16 and 2016- 17 in a colourful ceremony at India Expo Centre & Mart, Greater Noida. Ajay Tamta, Hon’ble Union Minister of State for Textiles was the Guest of Honour and Shantmanu, Development Commissioner [Handicrafts] graced the occasion.

OP Prahladka, Chairman – EPCH, Rakesh Kumar, Executive Director & Chairman – IEML, RK Passi and Sagar Mehta, Vice Chairmen-EPCH, members of the Committee of Administration of EPCH alongwith other luminaries from the trade and industry, Government officials and press & media were also present during export award ceremony.

After distributing awards Smriti Zubin Irani, Hon’ble Union Minister of Textiles addressed gathering and expressed that export awards always inspire the concerned to do better and better and strive even harder to attain growth in the years ahead and encourage others to make additional efforts to win the award next year.

Hon’ble Minister further said that this healthy competition keep the momentum going not only for the individuals but also pave way in enhancing foreign exchange earnings for the country thereby ultimately creating brand image of magic of the gifted hands of millions of artisans and craftpersons who are backbone of the sector and engaged across different craft clusters of the country.

Irani applauded performance of EPCH for being the best in the business and doing excellent work since its inception in every field whether it is setting up of infrastructural facilities in craft clusters, creating brand image of handcrafted products worldwide, helping exporters in innovating new designs and styles as per demand of buying community, organising world’s largest fair twice in a year i.e. IHGF-Delhi Fair, thereby increasing exports which was Rs. 387 cr in 1986-87 and has risen to Rs. 23,029.36 cr in 2017-18.

Minister also appreciated EPCH for starting diploma course for the children of the artisans working in the handicraft sector and urged EPCH to start award for those exporters who help the artisans in need and also contribute socially and upliftment of them. Smriti also shown her pleasure to know that during Ambiente 2019, India will be partner country. Minister also appreciated the efforts for contributing towards the education of girl child of laporacy affected families.

Ajay Tamta, Hon’ble Union Minister of State for Textiles said that Textiles Ministry is firmly behind the handicrafts sector and has provided support in terms of policy initiatives and incentives. Tamta hoped that the efforts of the handicrafts exporters, the Council and the support from the Ministry would result in higher growth for the sector in the times to come.

The Export Awards for outstanding performance of handicrafts exports to a total of 136 exporters i.e. 70 awards for the year 2015-16 and 66 awards for the year 2016-17 were distributed during the ceremony. Out of 136 Awards, 54 trophies [including hat-tricks], 69 merit certificate and 13 platinum awards were given under each product category such as Artmetelware, EPNS Handicrafts, Woodwares, Zari Handicrafts, Lace, Laces & Embroidery, India Items, Textiles based handicrafts, fashion jewellery, marble alabaster & crafted stone, papiermachie, iron crafts, jute handicrafts, glass, artware, ceramic artwares, aluminium artwares, aggarbatties as handicrafts, handicrafts of handmade paper products, handicrafts of leather, handicrafts of Eco friendly, shawls as artwares, handicrafts of smoking accessories and misc. crafts.

The top export award for all handicrafts was given to CL Gupta Exports Pvt. Ltd. Moradabad for the year 2015-16 and 2016-17 and Ajay Kumar Gupta received the award. CL Gupta Exports Pvt. Ltd. also received merit certificate being second highest in exporting glass artware for 2015-16 and Marble Alabaster & Crafted stones for excellent export growth for 2016-17.

Life time achievement was conferred to Vinod Khanna of Nodi Export, Moradabad towards outstanding contribution for promotion of Indian handicrafts Sector and contribution for his social services to the Moradabad Mega Cluster for health and other causes of people. Special commendation towards recognition of services to the Indian handicraft sector was also conferred to Dr. A.M. Singh, IFS, Special Principal Chief Conservator of Forests [Planning], Najmul Islam of Moradabad Handicrafts of India and Vishal Dhingra from Speciality Merchandising Services, Noida, and Ruma Devi from Gramin Vikas Evam Chetna Sansthan.

Divya Prem Sewa Mission is wholeheartedly rendering services towards education of children of leprosy affected people in Haridwar. Council in its CSR initiative contributed Rs. 11 lakhs in the noble endeavours of Divya Prem Sewa Mission. Ajay Gautam on behalf of Divya Prem Sewa Mission received the cheque. Out of all awardees, 37 exporters from Delhi NCR were awarded.

Both Union Ministers of Textiles and Union Minister of State for Textiles assured all assistance and guidance of the Government of India as well as support in terms of policy initiatives and incentives for the handicrafts sector in order to achieve higher growth for the sector in the greater interest of the artisanal community and generation of employment.

OP Prahladka, Chairman-EPCH said that in order to explore and foray into emerging and new markets, the Council recently participated in a show in West African Market of Nigeria at Lagos. Further, we are making presentations to various industry associations/chambers in Lagos so as to encourage the buying community in Nigeria to source their requirements of home, lifestyle, fashion, furniture and textiles products from India.

The handicrafts exports during the year 2015-16 was to the tune of Rs. 21,557.12 cr which touched Rs. 24,392.39 cr in 2016- 17 with an overall increase in exports of 13.15 per cent in rupee terms and 10.52 per cent in dollar terms. The handicraft exports during 2018-19 went ahead to the tune of Rs. 16,825.75 cr during April- November, 2018-19. With current scenario of exports in eight months, we hope to not only achieve but surpass the target amounting to Rs. 26,500.00 cr [$3,800 mn] informed Rakesh Kumar, Executive Director-EPCH and Chairman- IEML. He further elaborated about the Council’s initiatives in the field of skill development in the craft clusters of Narsapur, Jodhpur and Barmer and also emphasized Council’s initiatives towards artisan’s welfare through health and education benefits to the artisans and their family.