Millennium Post

Help Indian artisans access global mkts: Nirmala to luxury cos

Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today asked the luxury industry to recognise the work of Indian artisans and help them in accessing global markets.

She expressed pain that "wonderful" artisans are standing in queues for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee (MNREGA) scheme to get minimum wages.

"It pains me to say this. I purposely say this to this audience...Luxury industry will have to identify them from various pockets in India and give them their due recognition," she said.

She was addressing industry leaders at the Luxury Symposium 2017 here.

The minister said that government alone would not be able to help the craftsmen and the domestic industry needs to extend its support.

"It is possible for the luxury industry to promote products of artisans...They need recognition and this industry today is well poised to bridge the gap between artisans and market," she added.

Sitharaman appealed to the industry players to come forward and engage with the artisans.

She said the industry is rapidly growing in India and as per a study, the market size of the sector would touch USD 100 billion in eight years from the current USD 7-8 billion.

"We need to put in lot of attention for this sector and facilitate and ensure that it really fits into Make in India," she added.

Citing another report of 2014, the minister said globally the industry size is USD 2 trillion, of which 30 per cent comes from BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).

India is the only country among these five that is growing at over 7.2 per cent, she said, adding that the growth rate will be sustained at 7 per cent and above.

"The possibility of the luxury industry to survive and grow sufficiently in India is there because of its aspirational class," she said.

The minister also said that the number of high networth individuals is growing in India and the country will account for about 6 per cent of all billionaires in the next five years.

Speaking at the event, Ambassador of France to India Alexandre Ziegler said that several big French brands have presence in the country as the sector is growing rapidly.

The growing middle class, increasing awareness about brands and youth would further fuel the growth of the sector, he said, adding that this provides huge potential for luxury brands to explore this market.

"India is definitely the place (for our companies) to expand their business," he said.

However, he added that there are some regulatory and fiscal challenges here but India has made positive changes in FDI policy and is facilitating new investments.

"The better motto will be 'Make with India' and French companies will make with India," he added.

Taj Hotels, Palaces, Resorts and Safaris MD and CEO Rakesh Sarna said India aspires to become the luxury capital of the world.

"Luxury is richness of a society...We, collectively with the government, with thought leaders, with society must get out there and see what we need to do make our society richer, holistically," he said.

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