SRINAGAR: In an important step towards the promotion of rural economy and to boost the sale of genuine exotic products of Handicrafts and Handloom sector and find new destinations for niche handmade products from Jammu & Kashmir which hold sway in the international market, the Government today signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with one of the county’s prominent online retailer Flipkart to provide an online platform for showcasing and facilitating the local artisans/craftsmen/weavers to reach customers across the globe.
The special webportal “Samarth” of e-commerce giant Flipkart will now cater to hitherto uncovered products of Handicrafts and Handloom of J&K. The endeavour is seen as a game changer for on-boarding, sale and cataloguing of Handicrafts and Handloom products of J&K. The step by the Government at the time when the entire Country is reeling under the pressures of COVID-19 Pandemic shall provide much-needed succour to the artisans, craftsperson and weavers in J&K. The move by the Government shall expose artisans, craftspersons and weavers to millions of customers shopping online thereby ensuring efficient marketing that too when virtual marketing has overtaken the physical marketing of goods and services across the globe.
The MoU was signed in presence of Shri. Manoj Sinha, Lieutenant Governor, UT of J&K between Sh. Hashmat Ali, Managing Director, J&K Handloom and Handicrafts Corporation and Sh. Rajneesh Kumar, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Flipkart Group.
Speaking on the occasion, the Lt Governor appreciated the art of artisans and weavers of J&K. He emphasized that the initiative by the Government is more beneficial to the Flipkart than to the artists of J&K given the kind of unmatched, unique, world-class and nowhere-else to be seen artistry and dexterity of the artisans of J&K. “Partnership with the e-commerce marketplace like Flipkart will enable the local artisans, craftsmen and weavers to reach the global market. It will also provide an appropriate opportunity for the momentous growth and development of the respective sectors”, he added.
The Lt Governor also underscored the various steps that the Government of J&K has taken in the recent past for improving the financial conditions of artisans and weavers associated with Handicrafts and Handloom sector like enhancement in loan to Rs 2 lacs under Artisans Credit card scheme.
During the virtual signing of the MoU, few artisans also showcased their products and thanked the Government for facilitating e-commerce facility for sale and marketing of their products and appreciated the timing of this move when their unsold inventories have piled up due to Pandemic.
This meaningful initiative will eliminate the role of the middleman to a larger extent and will benefit the artisans in a way that the proceeds of the sale of their products shall go directly into their accounts. Initially this tie-up is supposed to cover dozens of products of lower and middle range segments like Paper-mache, Walnut craft gift items, Shawls and Stoles, Embroidery made-ups and Namda Rugs, Chain Stitch wall hangings, Willow wicker, Gabba, etc. Many more craft items shall be added subsequently.
This e-marketing channel shall involve and benefit artisans and weavers both in organized and unorganized sector and for the first six months, Flipkart will not charge any fee from the artisans and weavers. Subsequently, very nominal charges shall be levied as per the mutual agreement. The product profiles will be created with the help of resource persons made available by Flipkart.
Rajneesh Kumar, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Flipkart Group further added, “We are excited to join hands with the J&K Handloom and Handicrafts Corporation to bring the local heritage of Jammu & Kashmir on our platform. This MoU will enable thousands of artisans to reap the benefits of e-commerce and scale up their business.”
Kewal Kumar Sharma, Advisor to the Lieutenant Governor; B.V.R. Subrahmanyam, Chief Secretary; Manoj Kumar Dwivedi, Commissioner/Secretary, Industries and Commerce Department; Masarat-Ul-Islam, Director, Handicrafts & Handloom, Kashmir, besides other senior officers attended the brief ceremony.