Smriti Irani inaugurates 44th edition of IHGF-Delhi 2017
Aamir H Kaki
Textiles Minister Smriti Irani on Thursday inaugurated the 44th edition of Indian Handicrafts and Gift Fair (IHGF) 2017, organised by Exports Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH), at India Expo Centre and Mart in Greater Noida.
In her address, she said, “I hope that the delegates who will come to attend the IHGF from over 100 countries would have more and more B2B engagements with the representatives and export houses, which are exhibiting their products at the Fair.
Irani congratulated the EPCH for taking initiatives to take care of the education of children of artisans, working with the industry and export houses. “For education, 25% cost would be borne by the export house itself and 75% by the EPCH CSR activities,” she said.
The Minister further said, “I am extreme happy that the special care has been undertaken by EPCH to protect the designs rights of artisans, by introducing ‘Design Register, where they can register their designs.”
She said that India has a cultural legacy that can be exponentially leveraged in the global market from the perspective of handcrafted goods, and added that such type of initiatives and engagements can support the industry in leveraging its potential.
The Minister stated that her Ministry is concerned about industry and providing all the necessary support to the sector.
“From implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) to all the selective methods that have been undertaken by the Government of India, especially the Ministry of Textiles, have had very productive engagement with our industry,” she said.
“When industry and government come together then the artisans and weaver can also prosper and they can be benefitted from the scheme of things,” she added.
In his welcome address, Rakesh Kumar, Executive Director, EPCH, said that handicrafts has been an important sector, contributing to the economy. “The exports of handcrafts have shown growth in the last few years. In 2016-17, the handicrafts exports recorded a growth of 13.15% compared to a year ago,” he said.
He also welcomed the recent policy decisions taken by the Government for the industry. “In its 21st meeting last month, the GST Council has reduced the GST rate on 18 handicrafts items, which has highly benefitted the industry.”
He also informed that the range of products at the Fair has been increased this year. In addition, a lot of new products have been introduced this time, he added.
EPCH has also introduced ‘Design Register’ for its 11000 members, where they can register their designs, thus protecting their design rights, he said.
EPCH Chairman, OP Prahladka, in his key note address, said that the products are highly diversified at the Fair and 2980 exhibitors are displaying their products.
EPCH is expecting more than 6000 overseas buyers from over 100 countries at 44th edition of IHGF 2017, which is being held from October 12-16, he said.
Sagar Mehta, Vice Chairman, EPCH delivered the Vote of Thanks.