JAMMU: In a significant decision the Administrative Council (AC) which met under the chairmanship of Lieutenant Governor, G C Murmu accorded approval to the merger of Handicrafts Department and Handloom Development Department.
As a result of the merger, now there shall be a single department of J&K Handicrafts and Handloom, with two directorates at the Divisional level, for Kashmir and Jammu. Besides, there shall be eight Regional Deputy Directorates, at Anantnag, Budgam, Baramulla and Bandipora in Kashmir and Kathua, Udhampur, Rajouri and Doda in Jammu division.
The two sectors present a viable socio-economic activity and a major foreign exchange earner, yet the areas had remained poorly organized with little access to welfare/credit schemes. The decision is aimed at augmenting the resources and manpower and to bring synergy in the activities of the two sectors. It will also address challenges like lack of brand image, bulk production capacity, enforcement wing to check fake products, absence of e-marketing, stiff competition/ threat from machine and power-loom products etc.
The decision to merge the two departments is in line with the initiative of minimum government with maximum governance. It will avoid duplication of interventions, job profiles and activities meant for helping crafts and weavers. It will also help in establishing raw material and yarn banks, branding of hand made products through GI Tagging, exploring new markets at global level, focussing craft tourism, craft villages, design innovation, capacity building and infrastructure/ technology support.