Get authentic Banarasi silks, enchanting ‘itras’ and more: UP govt website is a treasure for handicraft lovers

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Updated: December 10, 2020 12:05 PM

One District-One Product website (odopmart.com) - the initiative backed by UP govt has now started getting traction. While it is still in its early stage, there are some mega plans in offing.

Uttar Pradesh, yogi Adityanath, Uttar Pradesh government, handicraft, vocal for local, itra, benarasi saree, Aligarh locks, up handicraft, up handicraft online, up handicraft websiteWhile there are many online options available right now for buying handicraft products, there is always a nagging doubt over the authenticity.

Once upon a time, many, many moons ago, there was an era when people used to shop (for real). You would stroll the markets, experience the buzzing bylanes and look for that saree or that design of sliver chaandbali. Shopping would mean channelising inner Buddha energy and keeping calm while haggling over price or perfect deal. This was the usual way until coronavirus changed our lives forever. The pandemic forced most of us to stay home and shopping essentially became a virtual exercise.

But what if you want best of Banarasi silks and that enchanting itra? While there are many online options available right now, there is always a nagging doubt over the authenticity of the product. So, in case you are looking for that ‘just right’ gift or something for yourself, there is a special website that will cater to all your handicraft needs. The UP government’s site has now started getting traction. While the website is still in its early stage, there are some unique plans in offing. Such as connecting the customers to the artist and buyers knowing about the backstory of each product in their carts.

In an exclusive email interview, UP government’s Additional Chief Secretary Navneet Sehgal (MSME, Khadi and Village Industries and Information and Public Relations Department) told the Financial Express.com about the grand ‘ODOP’ initiative plans, which supports PM Narendra Modi’s ‘vocal for local’ vision.

Here are the edited excerpts:

Q: Tell us about the ‘One District One Product’ initiative.

A: Launched in 2018, the ‘One District One Product’ (ODOP) is the flagship programme of the Uttar Pradesh government. The objective of the programme is to preserve, develop and promote local arts, crafts and traditional skill of communities spread across each district of Uttar Pradesh. We not only present a platform but also provide training to the artisans. For example, the artisans of the old wood carving industry of Saharanpur needed training. Now under the ODOP scheme, we are providing training facilities to them. This will not only improve the products, but will also decrease the production time. Additionally, the programme aims to add to the income and local employment thus, preventing migration due to lack of employment opportunities. We have further revived the traditional clusters.

Q: What steps have govt taken to mainstream these artisans?

A: The state government after an extensive ground study has identified unique products in every district during the launch of the programme. The MSME Department through its three ODOP schemes and through MOU partners is bringing the ODOP product aligned artisans under the ambit of the ODOP Programme. Furthermore, they are encouraged to onboard on important e-marketplaces like Amazon & Flipkart, through both, online & offline workshops (both are MOU partners of the ODOP Cell – The nodal body of the ODOP Programme)

Q: Please tell us about some commercial collaborations.

A: Apart from our website, we have joined forces with major players in the retail market that can provide much-needed exposure to our artisans. From Amazon to Flipkart, our products are available on these ecommerce sites and we have got very encouraging responses. a Singapore-based business-to-business platform Buy2SELL has written to us, expressing its intent to sell ODOP products online. The company which has B2B network in most of the countries in Asia and Europe, was quite impressed by ODOP and has asked for a detailed list of the products.

The World Bank too has evinced interest to develop the ecosystem of 14 agricultural and food processing products related to ODOP with the aim of promoting entrepreneurship through integrated cluster development.

Uttar Pradesh, yogi Adityanath, Uttar Pradesh government, handicraft, vocal for local, itra, benarasi saree, Aligarh locks, up handicraft, up handicraft online, up handicraft websiteApart from our website, we have joined forces with major players in the retail market that can provide much-needed exposure to our artisans, Navneet Sehgal told FE.com

Q: Is govt providing any help in terms of funds and skill training to the artists?

A: Yes, for supporting the artisans under ODOP Programme, there are two schemes, Margin Money Scheme and Training/ Tool Kit Scheme.

The Money Margin Scheme is aimed at promoting self-employment among ODOP artisans/ workers by addressing access to finance issue – by lending margin money (ranging up to Rs20 lakh), through formal banking system. The incentive ranges from:

S.No Project Cost (Rs. In Lakhs) Margin Money Subsidy

  1. Up to 25 25% of the Project Cost or a maximum of Rs 6.25 lakh, whichever is less

2 . More than 25 to up to 50 20% the Project Cost or a maximum of Rs 6.25 lakh, whichever is high

  1. More than 50 to up to 150 10% of the Project Cost or a maximum of Rs 10 lakh, whichever is high
  2. More than 150 10% of the Project Cost or a maximum of Rs 20 lakh, whichever is less

Q: Can you please elaborate on the process of mapping the products on e-commerce websites?

A: The products were selected keeping in mind the regional specialisation, advanced skill set used in production and artisanal cluster intensity of a product in the districts. For example – In Varanasi one can find Silk product clusters that specialise in the unparalleled art of “Banarasi weaves”. In near future, we will also connect the local artists and the buyers via our website odopmart.com . For this, we are training the artisans.

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