Even as a majority of artisans at this year’s International Trade Fair benefited from the “Hunar Haat”, a chorus for the need of a government supported e-commerce platform for artisans across the country to reach out to the international audience could be heard.
“Hunar Haat” was an initiative taken by the Ministry of Minority Affairs as part of its “Ustaad” scheme to promote minority artisans across the nation to reach out to a wider audience. The ministry paid for the travelling and living expenses of the artisans along with paying for stalls at the Trade Fair and giving a daily allowance of Rs 1,200.
Diwan Yousufsha, a Gujrat-based artisan, said, “We live in Ahemdabad and local sales are good enough for us to earn a simple living. But at Hunar Haat, in the last 10 days, I have been able to earn half of what I earn in a month.”
Obedulla Khan, a Bidri handicraft artisan based in Kartnataka, complained about the lack of sales and said, “We need a consumer base that can easily reach us. Today e-retail has become so popular that artisans can earn far better than ever if they are provided with a single e-platform where all of us can sell our products to people across the world.”
Syed Azaj, a Kashmir-based papier-mâché artisan, reflected on his bleak sales and said, “Given the circumstances in Kashmir, I feel that an e-platform for artisans would act like a saviour.” Manoj Puniya, coordinator, National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation, which is the implementing agency for Hunar Haat, said, “This is the first time the ministry has managed to gather most talented artisans across the country on a single platform without making them pay any penny for it. The ministry has spent approximately Rs 1.40 crore on stall and decoration charges.”