[Kurukshetra May 2023 Summary] Potential of rural handicrafts and rural tourism – Explained, pointwise

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India’s abundant rural crafts and traditions are passed down through generations. They present significant potential for the nation’s rural tourism sector. These crafts, the livelihood of numerous rural communities, offer unique attractions for tourists, contributing to the local economy, employment, and skill development. The government’s role in promoting these crafts, conservation efforts, ecotourism, and infrastructure development enhances this potential. Thus, rural tourism in India holds the promise of not only preserving the rich cultural and natural heritage but also boosting local incomes and job opportunities, making it a vital sector for India’s overall growth.  

What are the significances of rural handicrafts and rural tourism?

Cultural preservation: Rural tourism allows visitors to experience and appreciate the rich, diverse cultural heritage that rural areas offer. For example, Pochampally Village in Telangana is famous for its distinctive handloom industry and Ikat sarees. Thereby providing tourists with an authentic cultural experience.  

Economic development: Rural tourism can generate income and employment for local communities. For instance, the One District One Product (ODOP) program has helped artisans increase their income by promoting their unique crafts.  Rural tourism can provide incentives for homestays and eco-tourism, local communities can showcase their crafts directly to tourists, creating a unique cultural experience and generating income.

Sustainability: Rural tourism can support sustainable development by promoting eco-tourism and traditional, environmentally-friendly crafts. A good example is the ‘Linking Textile with Tourism’ initiative that promotes eco-friendly local crafts.  

Preventing Rural-Urban migration: By providing job opportunities and stimulating local economies, rural tourism can reduce the need for people to move to cities for work. This is clearly seen in craft villages that have become tourist hotspots, generating local employment.  

Promoting peaceful co-existence: By fostering understanding and appreciation between urban and rural communities, rural tourism promotes peaceful co-existence and social harmony. The ‘Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat’ philosophy, emphasizing intercultural exchange, is a testament to this.  

Read more: Tourism Sector in India – Explained, pointwise

What are the Governmental initiatives for promoting rural handicrafts and rural tourism?

rural handicrafts and rural tourism
Source: Kurukshetra


One District One Product (ODOP): This initiative aims to promote traditional industries and handicrafts in each district of India, thereby creating employment opportunities and preserving traditional crafts.  

Linking textile with tourism: Under this initiative, eight craft villages have been identified nationwide to encourage tourism and crafts in a single location, further contributing to the local economy.  

Pochampally handloom park: Established in Telangana, the park is a tourist attraction that showcases the rich history and development of the Pochampally handloom industry.  

Ekta mall: Located in Gujarat, the Ekta Mall offers local artisans a platform to showcase and sell their crafts, promoting local culture, and boosting tourism.  

PM Vishwakarma Kaushal Samman: This webinar series highlights the importance of traditional Indian crafts and their potential in promoting tourism and generating employment in rural areas.  

Handloom Village at Moirang.

National Technical Textiles Mission.

Global recognition and trade fairs: The government participates in international trade fairs and exhibitions, providing financial assistance to artisans, and setting up export promotion councils to enhance handicraft exports. For example, as per the Annual Report 2020-21 released by the Ministry of Textiles, the exports of handicrafts from India have been growing steadily, with a rise from Rs. 19,171 crore in FY 2019-20 to Rs. 20,151 crore in FY 2020-21, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Read more: 2021- A Year of Game Changing Reforms for Ministry of Textiles

How do rural handicrafts and rural tourism act as a solution to curb migration?

Creating employment opportunities: Rural handicraft industries provide jobs in rural areas, helping residents earn a livelihood locally instead of migrating to urban areas.  

Fostering entrepreneurship: Rural craft businesses offer opportunities for locals to become entrepreneurs and reach broader markets, reducing the need for migration.  

Attracting tourism: Local culture and arts, including rural crafts, attract tourists, creating more economic opportunities in rural areas and thereby reducing migration.  

Income diversification: Rural crafts provide an alternative source of income, helping rural residents become less reliant on traditional livelihoods such as agriculture, and reducing the need for migration for economic reasons.  

Read more: [Kurukshetra August Summary] Agribusiness and Rural Industries – Explained, pointwise

What is the role of G20 in promoting Indian rural handicrafts and rural tourism?

Improving international market access: By reducing trade barriers and simplifying customs procedures, the G20 can help Indian handicrafts reach international markets.  

Financial assistance: The G20 can provide financial aid in the form of loans, grants, or subsidies, assisting Indian artisans with capital to expand their businesses.  

Investment in skill development: The G20 can contribute to skill development programs for Indian artisans, improving the quality and range of their products.  

Strengthen intellectual property laws: In collaboration with the Indian government, the G20 can help strengthen intellectual property laws to protect the designs and techniques of Indian artisans.  

Global promotion: By leveraging its influence, the G20 can help promote Indian handicrafts globally, increasing their recognition and marketability.  

Read more: [Yojana December Summary] GI Tagging of Rural Products – Explained, pointwise

What can be done to promote rural handicrafts and rural tourism?

Enhance skill development and training: Providing adequate training and skill development programs can help artisans enhance their craftsmanship, learn new techniques, and adapt to modern market trends. These programs could be conducted by governmental agencies, NGOs, or craft councils, and should aim at bridging the gap between traditional skills and modern requirements.  

Improving market access and exposure: Efforts should be made to improve rural artisans’ access to national and international markets. This can be done by organizing local and national craft fairs, supporting online sales platforms, and promoting participation in international trade fairs and exhibitions.  

Creating financial support systems: Government and financial institutions should provide easy access to loans, grants, and other financial aids for rural artisans to invest in tools, materials, and marketing. This support would enable them to enhance production and reach a wider market.  

Strengthening infrastructure: Upgradation of infrastructure, like roads, electricity, and internet connectivity in rural areas, can aid in the growth of the rural craft sector. With better infrastructure, artisans can reach out to customers more efficiently, and tourists can access these rural areas with greater ease.  

Protecting intellectual property: Strengthening laws related to intellectual property rights can help protect the unique designs and techniques of rural artisans. This would prevent exploitation and encourage innovation in the craft sector.  

Leveraging technology: Integrating technology into the rural handicraft industry can make a significant difference. From e-commerce platforms to social media marketing, technology can provide artisans with new avenues to showcase and sell their products to a global audience.  

Incentivizing innovation: Innovation should be incentivized in the handicraft sector to make the products more appealing to a global audience. This could include product diversification, modern design integration, and the use of eco-friendly materials.  

Building global partnerships: Engaging in partnerships with international organizations and countries can help promote Indian rural crafts on a global platform, increase their market reach, and offer opportunities for collaboration and learning.  

Enhancing branding and promotion: Effective branding and promotional campaigns can play a vital role in showcasing the unique characteristics and cultural significance of rural handicrafts, making them more appealing to both domestic and international markets. 

Read more: [Kurukshetra June Summary] Rural Tourism: India an Incredible Tourism Destination – Explained, pointwise

Source: Kurukshetra

Syllabus: GS 3: Economic development: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

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