Vocal for Local: Govt’s craft fair Hunar Haat for artisans back after Covid hiatus to promote Indian toys

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September 08, 2020 3:50 PM

Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: Hunar Haat was implemented as a component of the Upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/ Crafts for Development scheme during 2016-17. The scheme was launched in 2015.

The government had mandated BIS quality certification for toy manufacturers and importers from September 1 onwards.

Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: Government’s craft fair Hunar Haat to promote and encourage products of local artisans and craftsmen is back after around 6-month gap. Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Tuesday said that Hunar Haat will restart from October 9, 2020, based on ‘Local to Global’ theme and would focus on Indian toys. Beginning with Prayagraj from October 9 to 18, over 30 per cent stalls at the Haat will be dedicated for toy artisans who would also be supported “through various institutions for attractive packaging of swadeshi toys,” Naqvi said. The announcement came days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged Indian entrepreneurs to innovate for the toy sector in order to boost its manufacturing and global imprint. “I urge start-ups and youngsters to focus on innovations in the toys sector,” Modi had said in a Twitter thread after meeting the senior ministers and officials for the same.

Naqvi added that Hunar Haat will offer an “enormous platform providing market and opportunities” to master artisans who make indigenous exquisite toys with wood, brass, bamboo, glass, cloth, paper, clay etc. Following Prayagraj, Hunar Haat will be organised in Jaipur (October 23 – November 1), Chandigarh (November 7-15), Indore (November 21-29), Mumbai (December 22-31), Hyderabad (January 8-17), Lucknow (January 23-31), Delhi (February 13-21), Ranchi (February 20-28), Kota (March 5-14), Surat/Ahmedabad (March 20-27) etc.

Meanwhile, the toy sector, which largely comprises of MSMEs, has been seeking government support even as the latter had hiked the import duty on toys by 200 per cent from 20 per cent to 60 per cent in February in order to boost Make in India initiative. The hike has made toys unaffordable for customers while “the market will not be able to absorb the price. We are wondering whether toys could be sold at increased prices,” Abdullah Sharif, Vice President, All India Toys Federation (AITF) had told Financial Express Online.

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The other challenge faced by toy MSMEs is the mandatory BIS quality certification for toy manufacturers and importers as mandated by the government from September 1 onwards. However, this has been an extremely short notice for businesses to comply with the requirement. “We believe toymakers require 18-24 months to upgrade to the stringent BIS regulations. Why? Let’s begin with the process of applying for a licence. The time-frame required here is a minimum 120 days, 180 if you’re a foreign manufacturer or importer. Next, the QCO (Quality Control Order) requires manufacturers to set up testing facilities (equipment, personnel and technology included) and allow factory inspections from BIS inspectors, before they grant you a licence,” Rehan Dhorajiwala, Spokesperson, AITF told Financial Express Online.

Naqvi said that Hunar Haat has provided employment and employment opportunities to over 5 lakh artisans, craftsmen, culinary experts etc., in the last five years. The Minority Affairs Ministry had launched Upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/ Crafts for Development (USTTAD) scheme on May 15, 2015, focusing on preserving the heritage of traditional arts of minorities. Hunar Haat was implemented as a component of the USTTAD scheme during 2016-17. Buyers would also be access products displayed at Hunar Haats online as well. The ministry is registering artisans and products on its public procurement marketplace GeM.

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