Qualitative Survey with AIACA-Craftmark Members on COVID 19

FOCUS

This 20-page report presents the findings and recommendations of the All Indian Artisans and Craftworkers Welfare Association, New Delhi. (AIACA is an organisation involved in advocacy and policy research in the crafts sector.)

After the lockdown began in India on March 25, 2020, AIACA administered a qualitative survey to 15 individual artisans as well as 15 craft organisations and enterprises in 26 districts across 13 states – Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal. The survey, undertaken in April 2020, aimed to study the impact of the lockdown on India’s crafts sector, especially individual artisans.

The five-chapter report includes a background to the survey (chapter 1); the responses of individual artisans (chapter 2) and craft enterprises and organisations (chapter 3); their specific demands from the government (chapter 4); and AIACA’s recommendations (chapter 5).

    FACTOIDS

  1. Citing the website of the Development Commissioner (Handicraft), of the government of India’s Ministry of Textiles, the report states that 52.4 per cent of India’s artisans belong to Other Backward Class (OBC) communities, 20.8 per cent are from Scheduled Castes (SC), and 7.5 per cent belong to Scheduled Tribes (ST).

  2. Of the 15 artisans surveyed, 95 per cent reported a loss of wages and livelihoods, 95 per cent noted a drop in sales, 91 per cent had their orders and consignments stalled, 89 per cent noted that their access to raw materials had reduced, 88 per cent reported a mounting inventory of products, 84 per cent had their orders and consignments cancelled, 78 per cent noted a disruption in communication with potential buyers, and 76 per cent reported problems in obtaining groceries and daily supplies.

  3. A third of the artisans surveyed said that they did not know about the government’s relief measures specific to the livelihood and healthcare of artisans.

  4. A third of the artisans surveyed said that they approached local moneylenders to sustain themselves after the lockdown began.

  5. Of the 15 organisations surveyed, 75 per cent stated that clients had closed or paused their orders and consignments, 50 per cent reported having closed down their premises, and 49 per cent stated that they had not made payments to artisans due to financial constrictions.

  6. The report notes that 63 per cent of the craft organisations surveyed said that they immediately required financial aid and loans to survive the lockdown.

  7. The report states that 28 per cent of the surveyed craft organisations expressed concerns over the lack of ‘relief material’ for the artisans they work with. None of the organisations spoke of whether or how they were disseminating information on government schemes to the artisans that they were associated with.

  8. Most individual artisans surveyed said that the government should provide them with groceries and rations, electricity, gas, water and rent, for the next 3 to 4 months – for free or at subsidised rates.

  9. The surveyed artisans were of the opinion that state governments should “commit to procuring handmade products from artisan groups.” The government, they said, should grant special aid to handloom weavers and artisans for their wage losses during the lockdown.

  10. The surveyed craft organisations were of the opinion that the government should provide a direct bank transfer of Rs. 15,000 to each artisan, concessions to aid small and growing businesses in the craft sector to resume functioning immediately after the lockdown, and minimum wage support for artisans, suppliers and ‘ancillary workers’ for a period of six months.


    Focus and Factoids by Lotika Singha.

AUTHOR

All Indian Artisans and Craftworkers Welfare Association, New Delhi

COPYRIGHT

All Indian Artisans and Craftworkers Welfare Association, New Delhi

PUBLICATION DATE

Apr, 2020

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