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11 Nov, 2012

At Awards Ceremony, India Hails Role of Handloom, Handicraft Sectors


Ministry of Textiles, 09-November, 2012 – The President of India, Mr Pranab Mukherjee today conferred 20 Shilp Guru Awards, 18 Sant Kabir Awards along with 74 National Awards to master craftspersons and master weavers at a function in Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.

Congratulating all the awardees for their “contribution in preserving, promoting and enriching the traditional and cultural heritage of our country,” the President voiced confidence that the recognition to the awardees will “inspire and encourage others to work hard and emulate your efforts to bring prosperity to artisans and weavers across the country.”

The President described handlooms as a precious part of national legacy and said that this rich heritage has been kept alive by those professionally skilled weaver households that are linked with the age-old tradition of weaving. Every part of India, every province, district and almost every single village has a cherished craft tradition of its own, he said.

Mr Mukherjee said the government should provide enabling policy support which can lead to sustainable growth of the handloom and handicraft sectors. “There is a need to be aware of the emerging challenges and also the opportunities presented by the changing global environment…we have to adapt to the changes that are taking place not only within the country but also globally,” said Mr Mukherjee.

He added that “modernisation in the weaving technique, improvement of designs and pattern, access to modern tools, technology and implements, upgradation of skills to ensure quality, supply of good quality basic inputs like yarn, dyes, and chemicals in time and to create a sound marketing infrastructure would not only give the required impetus but also make the products of the weavers and craftsperons more competitive.”

Union Minister for Textiles and Commerce, Mr Anand Sharma also congratulated the awardees, weavers and artisans for their outstanding contribution in preserving and enriching the unique and artistic cultural traditions of different parts of the country. He said that supporting the rural artisans is not only integral to the duties of a welfare state, but is essential for preserving those traditions which for centuries have embodied the nationhood.

“We have supported the establishment of Urban Haats across the country and also provided support for organising Shilp Bazaars, Craft Bazaars and exhibitions to provide a platform for the Indian craftsmen.”

Mr Sharma said that there is a need to upgrade the quality of the hand made produce to enable the makers to reach out to the global market place. “There is a huge challenge of meeting the skill deficit in the handicraft sector, and though we provide support for training, skill upgradation and design, much more needs to be done,” added Mr Sharma.

Shilp Guru awards are conferred to legendary master craftspersons of Handicrafts whose work and dedication have contributed not only to the preservation of rich and diverse craft heritage of the country, but also to the resurgence of handicrafts sector as a whole. Each Award consists of one mounted gold coin, one shawl, Certificate and a Tamrapatra. In addition, financial assistance to the extent of Rs. 6 lakh is also given to each selected Awardee to innovate and create five new products of high level of excellence, high aesthetic value and high quality befitting the stature of the Guru.

Sant Kabir Award is conferred on such outstanding weaver who has made valuable contribution in keeping alive the handloom heritage and also for his dedication in building up the linkages between the past, present and future through dissemination of knowledge on traditional skills and designs. Each Sant Kabir Award consists of one mounted gold coin, one shawl, certificate and a Tamrapatra. In addition, financial assistance to the extent of Rs. 6 lakh is also given to each selected awardee to innovate and create ten new products of high level of excellence, high aesthetic value and high quality.

National Awards to Master Craftspersons and master weavers were introduced in 1965 and the award comprises of a cash prize of Rs.1 lakh, a certificate, Tamrapatra and an Angavastram.