Handicrafts exports decline in first half of current fiscal: EPCH
Aamir H Kaki
Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH) said on Wednesday that handicrafts exports from the country were declined during the first six months of current financial year, due to disruptions caused by implementation of GST, exchange rates and some global matters.
“The handicrafts exports from India during the first six months of 2017-18 were declined compared to a year ago. The exports during the period were Rs.12520 crore,” said O.P. Prahladka, Chairman, EPCH, while briefing the press on Wednesday on the eve of 44th edition of IHGF-Delhi Fair to be held from October 12-16.
“However, the exports of handicrafts were Rs.24,392 crore during the financial year 2016-17, witnessing an increase of 13.15% compared to the previous year,” he added.
However, Prahladka said that he is hopeful that exports will pick up in the second half of the year.
Citing the reasons for decline, he said, “There are several reasons for the drop in exports such as exchange rates and disruptions due to GST implementation.”
“The global issues such as political tensions among countries, doesn’t affect our exports as we cater to the affluent markets of USA, UK and Europe,” he added.
Speaking on the issue, Rakesh Kumar, Executive Director, EPCH, said, “The exports of handicrafts were increased by 16% during the first quarter of April-June 2017-18 but the exports were declined by 29% during July-September quarter.”
Citing the reason, he said that the main reason was the increase in international prices of some raw material. Giving example, he said, “A major segment in handicrafts sector of metal wares, especially brass handicrafts. We have to import most of the raw material, i.e. copper and zinc, which is used in making brass. The international prices of these metals are governed from London Metal Exchange (LME). The prices of copper at LME were increased by more than 20% from June to September, leading to escalation of cost of brass handicrafts.”
He further said that the transformation period after the implementation of GST is another reason, which resulted in blockage of working capital of exporters.
“But these things are temporary. I hope that we will recover from these disruptions very soon and exports will pick up in coming months, he added.
On steps taken by GST Council in its meeting last week, Kumar said, “We welcome the measures taken by the Council as these have provided a relief to exporters, especially the reverse exchange mechanism and e-wallet facility.”
Indian Handicrafts and Gift Fair (IHGF) 2017, organised by EPCH is being held from October 12-16 at India Expo Centre & Mart, Greater Noida (NCR). The five-day event will witness the participation of 2980 exhibitors, display of more than 2000 products under 14 product categories. Overseas buyers from over 100 countries are expected to be visiting the Fair.
Textiles Minister Smriti Zubin Irani will be inaugurating the Fair on October 12.