The government has engaged the Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP), National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) and National Institute of Design (NID) to upgrade the design and packaging of 40 shortlisted handloom fabrics and handicrafts in the country.

The Mumbai-based IIP said in a press release that Maharastrian Paithani, Banarasi silk from Uttar Pradesh, Mysore silk from Karnataka, brass items and dokrametal craft from West Bengal and many such valued handloom and handicraft products from 18 states will now be available in export quality packaging.

“We will soon start working on developing specialised packaging for these products with designing inputs from NIFT and NID. This initiative is an important step towards realizing the Make in India dream which our Prime Minister Narendra Modi has envisioned for India,” N C Saha, director, IIP said.

While handloom industry is the second-largest employment provider for the rural population in India after agriculture, the handicrafts sector is one of the largest employment generators and accounts for a significant share in the country’s exports.

“In the modern marketing scenario, consumer goods are sold only due to good packaging as it enhances the value of the goods. India has a rich and varied heritage of handlooms and handicrafts and this initiative will surely help increase their export potential,” Saha said.

As a part of this initiative, IIP which is an apex body of the packaging industries, will also create training courses on specialised packaging in different languages for artisans from different minority communities involved in creation of handicrafts and handloom products.

“India has a large talent pool of artisans, majority of them women. This initiative will thus help in skill development within minority communities,” Saha added.