M S Farooqi
Craft Development Institute (CDI) is an autonomous institute established jointly by the Central and the State government to develop handicrafts in Kashmir.
CDI extends support to the craftsmen, to become integrated with the mainstream requirements of quality and production as well as assists the industry in strategic understanding of contemporary trends, market requirements or issues of standards, quality certification and compliances.
Among its various activities, the institute conducts skill and knowledge based trainings for the formally educated youth aspiring for a career or entrepreneurial opportunities in the handicraft sector and also co-participates in training the artisans of the new generation.
As a long term strategy for the overall development of the state’s handicrafts sector, CDI runs a 2-year post-graduate course in Craft Management & Entrepreneurial Leadership to address the need for trained professional human resource for the industry.
The CDI aspires to be instrumental in reforming mindsets, introduction of newer approaches, providing of platforms for interaction, process of infrastructure creation, brand building and policy formulation.
Functioning for the last five years and within the given limitations in Kashmir, the institute has evolved in a unique and purposeful manner, not only with reference to the region but also having the promise to grow into a premier institution of national relevance and international repute. The Institute has also created valuable assets that can be converted into immense returns in the coming future. CDI aims to bring evolutionary change to the regional crafts industry and expand its value many times over with professional and strategic intervention, thereby creating opportunities for the masses.
Plans for the Future Vocational Training Programmes
The Institute plans introduction of various short-term training programmes of two to six months duration, with the objective of creating technical expertise at a wide scale for the regional craft industry, in the following areas:
i. Cutting and tailoring
ii. Manufacture of leather accessories.
iii. Technique and technology upgrade in wooden furniture making.
iv. CAD related applications for Handicrafts
v. Craft Design, Craft Management and Craft Technologies
Professional Education Programme in Craft Design
With a belief that creation of professionally trained and motivated human resource shall begin to positively influence the quality of development of the regional craft sector, the institute proposes to introduce a 2.5 years professional training programme in Craft Design.
Setting up of Pashmina Testing and Research Centre
As part of commercializing the GI registration received for Kashmir Pashmina, a Pashmina Testing & Research Centre is to be established. The Centre would address the need of testing genuine Pashmina and Hallmarking it, in order to compete in the international market.
Building-up of a reliable Statistical Data Base
Presently, there is little information available in the State, regarding the scale and volume of crafts industry, human resource engaged in related production, export turnover, etc. with reference to each practiced craft.
Such an information base in a structured and organised manner is greatly required for carrying out further research and studies as well as a strategic management of financial resources towards the development of the regional craft sector.CDI would undertake such initiatives in a professional manner.
Establishment of Craft Design & Business Centre
A Craft Design & Business Centre is proposed to be established. The centre is expected to undertake the following initiatives on professional basis:
i. Providing of professional expertise for design innovation, research and documentation.
ii. Generation and selling of information related to market and life style trends that may be utilized towards opportunity mapping, marketing and design innovation by the regional craft industry.
iii. Bringing out publications of the wide variety of work such as research, studies or new designs carried out by the institute.
iv. Undertaking commercial production and marketing of selected products innovated by CDI, under its ongoing activities.
Setting up of Design Bank
CDI has undertaken a project for setting up a Design Bank with reference to crafts of Pashmina and Walnut Wood Carving.
The Design Bank is conceived with the objective of collecting classifying and disseminating related information on designs production processes, past and present product range manufacturing sources, etc. in a digitized format.
International Brand Building for Kashmir Handicrafts
CDI has conceived a comprehensive proposal for undertaking an aggressive campaign at national and international level, to build an integrated and recognized brand for the Kashmir handicrafts.
(The author is Director of the Craft Development Institute, Srinagar)