Push to woo global buyers for muslin products
Kolkata: With an aim to promote muslin products in foreign countries in large-scale and to attract the international buyers, the state government is chalking out plans to stress more on the worldwide marketing of muslin and other products, State Finance and MSME minister Amit Mitra said.
He was talking to the reporters at the sideline of 'National Seminar on Culture & Development' organised at a city hotel on Monday. The minister also pointed out how the international tourists have started visiting various handicraft hubs in the district giving a boost to the village economy.
"The state government has a plan to conduct worldwide marketing of muslin and other handicraft products, which will automatically provide a boost to the export of such items. The Biswa Bangla outlet set up at the Calcutta airport has been attracting the tourists. The foreigners who are buying the products at this outlet may feel the need of having such items in their countries and thereby contributing to the export automatically. We have specific plans to increase the export of muslin through various phases," Mitra said.
It may be mentioned here that the muslin products sold through Biswa Bangla outlets are in high demand. Having its origin in Dhaka, muslin fabric is the pride of Bengal, when it comes to handmade fabrics.
Bengal had been one of the largest exporters of muslin sarees during pre-colonial era. Being waved into a glossy and very light fabric, it still shows the sign of royalty and luxury.
After coming to power, the Mamata Banerjee government had taken a special initiative to organise the weavers. There are more than 300 families, who are associated with the production of muslin sarees. They have been given training by experts and a muslin hub has come up at Nadia. Muslin contains a piece of royalty that has been an age-old heritage of Bengal.
While attending the programme, Mitra also said the Bengal government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the UNESCO in 2013 to enhance the soft skills of the artisans.
Artisans in villages have immensely benefitted from the programme.
The agreement was further extended for three years in 2016. The programme has not only helped the artisans to increase their income but it has also uplifted the social conditions of people in the villages.
"It all started with 3000 artisans and then the number went up to 12,000. Now, around 25,000 artisans are involved in the programme. Earlier, they used to migrate to the city from villages for job. They have now gone back to their respective villages and started their works. Those who used to earn Rs 500 per month are now getting Rs 7500. Even some of them are getting Rs 12,000 per month. Around 1.20 lakh foreign tourists have visited the hubs which have been set up in 15 districts," Mitra said.
The minister also added that six out of ten traditional items that state had applied for, have received GI certification from the Centre. They are dokra, potochitra, madurkathi, wooden mask, terracotta and chow mask.
Nobody can claim that they have received GI certification for six items out of total 10 within three years of time, he said.