West Bengal State Handicrafts Fair begins at Milan Mela

West Bengal State Handicrafts Fair, 2015 – one of the largest handicraft fairs in India – was inaugurated by the Minister for Industry, Finance and Commerce, Dr Amit Mitra today at Milan Mela grounds.

Minister for Small and Medium Enterprises, Mr Swapan Debnath was also present on the occasion.

The fair grounds will be open to the public from 1 PM – 8:30 PM daily.

More than 3500 handicraft artists are participating in this annual fair organised by the Department of Small and Medium Enterprises, West Bengal Government. The fair will be held till December 13.

West Bengal Government has instituted credit cards, modelled after Kisan Credit Cards, for handicraft artisans in the State. Skill development training will also be provided to them by the Federation of India Export Organization so that the manufactured products may be of export quality.

Through the credit cards, the artisans can take a maximum loan of Rs 50,000 and once they repay the loan, more amounts will be approved.

Policies of Mamata Banerjee Govt help revive Bengal handloom sector

West Bengal Government has focused upon the rejuvenation and development of its world-famed Tant products, which are still now woven in handlooms.

Recently, West Bengal MoS for MSME Swapan Debnath inaugurated the Banglar Tanter Haat at Milan Mela Prangan in Kolkata. The Haat will continue till October 12.

Tantuja, the largest of the State Government organizations marketing Bengal’s handloom products, has taken initiative to have tie-ups with online shops like Snapdeal and Amazon. It is also with talks with the Google authorities for upgrading its website.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had earlier provided some design for Tant sarees and had stressed on usage of natural and organic colours for the products.

The West Bengal Government is giving all out support to the Self Help Groups, 50% of which comprise women by offering incentives, weaver’s credit cards and other facilities given to the unorganized sector.

Recently, the Government has started the “Tant Saathi” scheme. In the first phase, around one lakh weavers will be distributed with looms so that they would not have to depend on loans.

Bengal handloom now on doorsteps

Now at a click of a mouse or a gentle tap on your smart phone you can choose a Jamdani, Tangail, handloom or silk printed saree from Tantuja.

Customers can go online shopping at Flipkart without jostling through the Puja crowd. With an increase in online shopping, the West Bengal State Handloom Weavers Co-operative Society Limited also decided to go online with its handloom sarees.

Its premiun brand Tantuja’s Jamdani, printed silk, handloom sarees, self designed sarees of various ranges are available on online stores like Flipkart.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has always encouraged the growth of MSME. To showcase West Bengal’s handloom in other states and in London she has opened Biswa Bangla brand stores.

She has also instructed MSME minister Swapan Debnath to revive Muslin, an almost decaying fine handloom.

“The customers can avoid Puja rush and make their choice of sarees online. They will receive the delivery at their doorstep,” the minister said.

He said, “We are in the business for the past three and a half months and have made a business of Rs.10.5 lakh. Through stores like Flipkart it has become easier for NRIs and Bengali families living in other states to get Bengal handlooms at their doorstep”.