With small exporters of handicrafts finding it difficult to meet the stringent international standards of manufacturing in most developed-country markets, the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH) plans to bring such units together in handicraft parks to be set up across the country, with common facility centres (CFCs), testing labs and raw material banks.

“We are planning to set up about 10 handicraft parks throughout the country. The first such park is coming up on the Yamuna Expressway,” Rakesh Kumar, Executive Director, EPCH, told BusinessLine .

The CFCs will serve as a training/skill development facility as well as a manufacturing hub for the handicraft exporters, who will be provided with the latest machinery required for augmenting production and exports, Kumar said.

The testing labs shall serve the purpose of testing products for meeting international standards and the raw material bank shall ensure steady supply of inputs thereby decreasing the lead time to delivery to the exporters.

“The facilities in the parks will be especially significant for small exporters as they often operate from very small set-ups and do not have access to the infrastructure that is required to meet the standards of buyers in markets such as the EU, the US or Japan,” Kumar added.

The park on the Yamuna Expressway could also be the answer to the woes of the small & medium enterprise (SMEs) in Delhi facing a sealing drive carried out by the municipal corporations. “This handicrafts park would offer an alternative to SMEs to set up their units in the proposed park thereby facilitating uninterrupted, social and environmentally compliant production,” Kumar said.

While the handicraft park on the Yamuna Expressway will house about 300-400 units spread over 200 acres, some parks that are being planned could be much smaller depending on the place, he said.

India’s handicrafts exports declined 1.8 per cent to $3.57 billion in 2017-18, while overall exports from the country posted an increase of 9.8 per cent to $302 billion.