India is a vast country with a massive population dependent on the handloom. However, the condition of the weavers and craftsmen is pathetic. The handloom consumption has declined drastically in the past few years. The weavers and craftsmen cannot reach directly to the buyers as they do not have marketing potential and direct market access. The handlooms are also not getting due recognition in the country nowadays.
A strong, competitive and vibrant handloom sector is therefore continuously being tried to be developed by the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, through the office of the Development Commissioner so that sustainable employment to the handloom weavers can be provided. The Ministry takes up many initiatives by organizing marketing events, buyer-seller meet, international participation and so on.
So for the upliftment of this dying industry the Indian Government has come up with some innovative ideas. One of them is by providing the e-business facilities to the weavers.
Tie-up with online retailer Flipkart
With this aim the Government of India has joined hands with online retailer Flipkart, which has its largest customer base in India. It is providing online marketing platform to the handloom weavers and craftsmen of our country. Both of them have signed a MoU. Flipkart will not only support them by providing an online marketing platform but they will provide them with all kinds of technological facilities in data analytics and customer acquisition. These facilities will help weavers to get proper remunerative prices for their exquisite products.
Through online marketing platform the handloom weavers can reach out to the millions of online customers. The online buyers will also get direct access to the exquisite products of handloom which can scale up the weaver’s business.
As the Flipkart will provide data analytics and market intelligence, there will be a great impact on handloom manufacturing in rural India which will encourage entrepreneurships. Indian weavers can readily plan their production and inventory to expand their business. Flipkart will also guide weavers, artisans and entrepreneurs for making right decisions on the selling price, payment automations, proper packaging, brand building, transportation etc.
Even as the retailer provides the market place for the weavers, it will also make optimal use of the available data to bridge the missing linkages of market intelligence, logistics and huge market access so that the weavers can get their proper remunerative prices for their products. With this online facility the Indian craftsmen, national awardees, State level awardees can sell their products. Flipkart and their business partners will go to their doorsteps and also will have collection centres to collect their products.
Elimination of middlemen
By showcasing their products online the weavers can reach out directly to the buyers where there will be no middlemen between them. Earlier the middlemen used to take the maximum cuts while the weavers used to receive a minimal part of it. The buyers will also be benefited by this online business as they do not have to pay inflated price for the products.
It will be a major breakthrough that the weavers will be able to sell their products directly to the buyers under their own brand name without stepping out of their own workplaces. It can change the face of rural India
The artisans in rural India will be motivated by this partnership which will directly connect them to the buyers. Due to the lack of market linkages the weavers are not able to exploit the market potential. For example, the weavers of North East are very skilled with rich traditional motifs and designs. Also, Paithani and Himroo of Maharashtra have become a dying art but are of great value. Online presence can revive them.
This promising initiative will also motivate the children of the weavers. Thus, they will learn and continue their ancestral talent and tradition by staying back in their rural ancestral homes without migrating to the urban areas for earning their livelihood. By this way they can keep alive the rich tradition of Indian art and also can pass it on to their next generations.
On the other hand, by the upliftment of the Indian weavers the Indian handloom industry will also grow and as a result it will add up to the Indian economy too. This will also attract foreign investors to invest in Indian handloom industry, boosting the prospects of the weavers. This will also lead to increased international exposure to the industry.
The online presence of the weavers will empower them to regain the lost glory of the ancient Indian art and tradition.