Proposal sent to commerce ministry
SRINAGAR: To promote Kashmir handicrafts globally, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCC&I) will be participating in major exhibitions around the world in order to revive its glory.
President KCC&I Javed Ahmad Tenga told Kashmir Reader that the grouping has sent a proposal to the Union Minister of Commerce for participating in the major exhibitions of the world. “This will have huge potential for the Kashmir handicraft sector,” Tenga told Kashmir Reader adding in a recent international buyer-seller meeting at SKICC, local exporters met an overwhelming response walking away with orders worth Rs 15 crore received from foreign buyers.
The international buyer-seller meet witnessed the participation of 65 foreign buyers as also 19 buying agents from prominent buying houses of India. The event also opened doors for more exports at the international level. “Eighty percent of the foreign buyers were new, it opened a channel for us to export Kashmir handicraft items and the process would continue,” Tenga said.
Tenga told Kashmir Reader that KCC&I has also sent a proposal to both state and centre governments for Rs 20 crore as equity fund to promote Brand Kashmir globally. “Kashmir is itself a brand and the fund will be utilised to promote Kashmir handicrafts via advertisement in different countries,” he said.
Tenga said that buying agents give KCC&I a proposal to organise a joint exhibition in America and England, where several Kashmiri handicraft items would be displayed. “In these exhibitions, only Kashmiri handicrafts would be displayed,” he said adding that KCC&I has conducted two exhibitions in less than two months to promote the state’s handicrafts.
The Kashmir Chamber is also working on ways to improve the financial condition of artisans by increasing their wages. Artisans associated with Kashmir handicrafts over several years have left their ancestral profession due to low wages and hard labour. “Handicrafts are because of artisans, we will hold talks with traders regarding their concerns so as to redevelop the artisans’ interest in Kashmir handicrafts,” Tenga told Kashmir Reader.
The sector, Tenga said, suffered a setback from the implication of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) because of which, eight months later, they cannot find any customers. “Since the implementation of GST, this already-dying sector was affected badly. We are neither finding national nor foreign customers,” Tenga said adding. “The worst part is that traders have to pay GST while shifting products from one unit to another across India.”
Tenga said that the Kashmir Chambers is also mulling to stop the sale of fake Kashmir handicraft items that have fetched the sector a bad name by including several in Geographical Identity (GI). “We managed to put a curb on Pashmina by the help of GI and we are planning to include others in the same manner. GI tag will help everyone to locate people involved in the entire process, from making to selling,” he said.