The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee presented today (December 9, 2016) the National Awards and Shilp Guru Awards to master craftspersons for the year 2015.Speaking on the occasion, the President said that by recognizing craft persons through conferment of the awards today, we are encouraging innovation and creativity in this field. He applauded the efforts of the Ministry of Textiles to promote, through these important awards, the creation of master pieces of art and make India a hub of master craft persons. He stated that our indigenous handicrafts are a cherished aspect of the Indian way of life. Their extensive range reflects our nation’s diversity and infinite creativity. Each region of our vast nation has its unique style and tradition. These elements stem from the ancient life-rhythms of the society.
The President said that good quality product has an international reach. The growth in handicraft exports at 16 percent in 2015-16 is an indication of the importance this sector is assuming in our export basket. Proactive steps are needed to realize the full potential of this sector. Promotion of products in both domestic and international markets would expand its geographic reach, achieve economies of scale and make production more viable. Policy support will be necessary to evolve profitable market linkages and ensure easier access to bank credit.The President said that greater attention is needed for capacity building and skills recharge. “Guru Shishya Parampara” has been an important aspect of our traditional arts and crafts. Master-craftsmen, down the ages, have taken pride in passing on their skills to their succeeding generations. The long tradition of knowledge transfer in handicrafts must continue. In addition, our education system would do well to pursue a holistic course curriculum for imparting skills in fine arts. It will help identify hidden talent and ingenuity in many a student.