Centre targets Rs 7,600 crore carpets & floor covering exports for fiscal 2015-16
Vanita Peter D’souza| The Dollar Business
To showcase the weaving skills of Indian hand-knotted carpet artisans amongst the overseas carpet buyers, Carpet Export Promotion Council (CEPC) had launched the 29th Edition of India Carpet Expo on March 27, 2015, in New Delhi. The expo was inaugurated by Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Minister of State for Textile in the presence of Dr. Sanjay Kumar Panda, Secretary Textile and Mr. Samir Kumar Biswas, Development Commissioner (Handicrafts). The Chairmen of CEPC Shri Kuldeep R Wattal, said “Indian carpet expo is an ideal platform for international carpet buyers, buying houses, buying Agents, architects and Indian Carpet Manufacturers & Exporters to meet and establish long term business relationship.” He further said the government has set up a target of Rs.7, 600 crore carpets & floor covering export for the fiscal year 2015- 2016. “Carpet industry is doing good business since last 20 plus years. Indian Carpet Expo gives a lot exposure to us. Moreover in every expo we have new products to show cast,” said Md Aslam Khan, Partner, and Mak Enterprises. A record number of 450 overseas carpet buyers from around 57 countries are visiting the expo to generate business for this rural based cottage sector. Fereydoun N. Nahai, a business man who is a prominent carpet importer and a Principal of an US-based firm called Marcella Fine Rugs, told The Dollar Business, “The Indian carpet manufacturers listen to the importers and react to the market with regards to colour and design. They understand that we need carpet in a program basis. They provide us carpets according to the desired specifications. India relatively has a cost advantage over China and Iran in providing customised carpets.” Nahai said When you think of Indian manufactured carpet, you think about great quality and good craftsmen ship. But for Ayush Choudhary, the Managing partner of Chaudhary Exports there is more to this. He says, “I think Indian manufactures/exporters are generally transparent and clean.” Choudhary is not just an exporter but also has entered into retail carpet industry know as Cocoon Fine Rugs with stores in Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata and e-commerce website. But even this blooming industry has issues to deal with. For Nahai as an importer, infrastructure is a huge bottleneck. He said, “Indian infrastructure is a problem. Consignments get delayed because of poor roadways, followed by delay at the port. But these issues are being addressed. There was time we avoid travelling by road but now I travel from Delhi to Jaipur to Varanasi all by car.” Besides infrastructure, lack of skilled weavers is one the major problem faced by the industry. “Labourers are vanishing. If we want 20 people, we find only five. Government should take this up seriously and do something for the industry,” complained Khan. Choudhary thinks availability of better option allowed the weavers to explore into other industry. He says “People are not very keen on working on labour intensive jobs. There is a lot of hard work that goes into weaving a carpet. Their wages have been increased but we still cannot find enough people to weave our carpets.” Even the CEPC Chairman agrees with the industry and says. “The only challenge faced by the carpet industry is the shortage of skilled labour. Over the years, people of this industry have left these jobs for greener pastures. They have ventured into other industries to get better remunerations.” But having said that, the shortage of weavers is truly addressed by the Government and he says they are effectively dealing with this problem. “They have accepted our request on giving them financial assistance on opening new training institutes. In September, the Textile Minister launched a scheme where we received additional funds to train 5000 weavers.” Wattal, told the The Dollar Business. These clusters are said to be opening at the Badhoi- Mirzapur belt, followed by Agra, Rajasthan, Kashmir and other carpet belts, added the Chairman. Each cluster has 12 weavers. They are trained to weave hand tufted and hand crafted carpets, for 3 months and 4 months respectively. They receive Rs 2500 as stipend to learn the trade. Apart from the stipend, they get free raw material and skilled trainer is also assigned to train them. Meanwhile, the Indian Carpet Expo would continue till March 30, in Hall Numbers 8 to 11, in Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.
This article was published on March 28, 2015.