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Govt ties up with Flipkart to promote Kashmiri handicraft, handloom products

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Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir government on Thursday signed a pact with online retailer Flipkart for showcasing and facilitating the local artisans and craftsmen to reach customers across the globe.

Speaking on the MoU (memorandum of understanding) signing occasion, Manoj Sinha, Lieutenant Governor of J&K, said the partnership will give a big boost to the rural economy and promote the versatile handicrafts and handlooms of Jammu and Kashmir to a pan-India market.

“It is a historical day today for the artisans and weavers, of J&K as we will progress with this partnership that will not just give a big boost to the rural economy but also promote the versatile handicrafts and handlooms of J&K which are famous worldwide and to a pan-India market,” Sinha said

He appreciated the art of artisans and weavers of J&K, and emphasized that the initiative by the government is more beneficial to the Flipkart than to the artists of J&K given the kind of unmatched, unique, world-class and nowhere-else to be seen artistry and dexterity of the artisans of J&K.

“Partnership with the e-commerce marketplace like Flipkart will enable the local artisans, craftsmen and weavers to reach the global market. It will also provide an appropriate opportunity for the momentous growth and development of the respective sectors,” he added.

The LG also underscored the various steps that the government of J&K has taken in the recent past for improving the financial conditions of artisans and weavers associated with handicrafts and handloom sector like enhancement in loan to Rs 2 lakhs under Artisans Credit card scheme.

During the virtual signing of the MoU, few artisans also showcased their products and thanked the government for facilitating e-commerce facility for sale and marketing of their products and appreciated the timing of this move when their unsold inventories have piled up due to pandemic, the press release said.

In a statement, Walmart-owned Flipkart said its agreement with Jammu & Kashmir Handloom and Handicrafts Corporation under the Flipkart Samarth programme to enable local artisans, weavers and craftsmen showcase their products on its platform.

Hashmat Ali Yauto, Managing Director of J&K Handloom & Handicrafts Corporation, said, “(The partnership)… will benefit lakhs of artisans, weavers and will in turn help in strengthening the Handicraft and handloom industry and economy of the UT to a greater extent.”

Rajneesh Kumar, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Flipkart Group, said e-commerce will function as an enabler to not only provide nation-wide access to the artisans and weavers community but will also catalyse local economic activity.

“This MoU will enable thousands of artisans to reap the benefits of e-commerce and scale up their business,” he added.

An official spokesperson of the J&K government said, “The move by the government shall expose artisans, craftspersons and weavers to millions of customers shopping online thereby ensuring efficient marketing that too when virtual marketing has overtaken the physical marketing of goods and services across the globe.”

Initially this tie-up is supposed to cover dozens of products of lower and middle range segments like paper-machie, walnut craft gift items, shawls and stoles, embroidery made-ups and namda rugs, chain stitch wall hangings, willow wicker, gabba, etc. Many more craft items shall be added subsequently.

“We are excited to join hands with the J&K Handloom and Handicrafts Corporation to bring the local heritage of Jammu & Kashmir on our platform. This MoU will enable thousands of artisans to reap the benefits of e-commerce and scale up their business,” Rajneesh Kumar said.

Kewal Kumar Sharma, Advisor to the LG; B.V.R. Subrahmanyam, Chief Secretary; Manoj Kumar Dwivedi, Commissioner/Secretary, Industries and Commerce Department; Masarat-Ul-Islam, Director, Handicrafts & Handloom, Kashmir, besides other senior officers attended the brief ceremony.

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