With the onset of the pandemic in India, the economy as a whole has witnessed a major setback in terms of production and returns. Major players in the market have lost out due to the effects of the lockdown imposed in the country for about a year now.
Coming to the handicraft and handloom sector they too in terms of sales and revenue have experienced pretty low figures than usual. For a developing country like India poverty is a long growing evil and with the unforeseen events created due to the pandemic, the country has suffered a major loss. Artisans, craftsmen, and weavers fall under such a category since the goods produced by them do not fall under essentials despite the call for the Prime Minister’s vision of “vocal for local”.
Districts in the interiors of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, parts of North East India, and many other states have their indigenous and local handicraft households and small industries which have shut down production completely owing to the lockdown.
No sales have been generated either through exhibitions or through local orders and since there is no more capital to reinvest the situation is stagnant with no returns or profits. The artisans are facing a crisis in procuring materials for daily consumption and nor do they have enough savings to meet medical expenses. The DSS distributed provisions, however, they could only reach a few artisans’ families. Most of the craftsmen and artisans have turned to agricultural work or to migrate again.
Some of the handicraft organizations were cut off from the government in 2020 which unfortunately led to the loss of the coexistence between the government and the artisans leaving them to provide on their own. At present with the ongoing pandemic and lockdown situation, the struggle for survival for the handicraft sector seems to be the toughest and longest.