It is a matter of pride that India is one of the largest producers of handmade rugs as well as exporters in the world. We export 90% of the carpets produced in India, in which the carpets produced in UT of Jammu and Kashmir have a good percentage, as these carpets, especially the famous carpets of Kashmir, are exported to no less than 25 countries . An upcoming carpet mega-village is on the way in UT to provide a targeted boost to the booming carpet industry. It is expected that just in the next four to five years, with the favorable demand horizon and the supportive measures provided by the UT government, the total export value will increase and touch more than Rs. 2000 crore. However, having said all this, still in the domestic and international markets, there is not only cost competitiveness but also design, texture, quality and standard. Our carpets must be such that they withstand and smoothly lead the fierce competition in international markets to such an extent that international customers are impressed by the beauty of these carpets. Normally, the rug weaving industry is labor intensive when it comes to traditional rug weaving which is done by hand. Therefore, a good measure of employment is in this industry at various stages, from manufacturing to marketing.
However, certain measures of a certain degree of protectionism must be applied to this traditional cottage industry with regard to marketing and export incentives. In this regard, it is quite satisfying to note that the UT government of Jammu and Kashmir has taken a series of measures from time to time to provide government support, for example in the case of the world famous saffron dress in the Kashmir and Kishtwar regions of UT by according to it GI label indicating the specific geographical origin, qualities and notoriety which are due to this origin. Similarly, UT Government has now taken another step to promote the commercialization of Jammu and Kashmir’s handmade carpets by launching the “first of its kind” QR-based mechanism for certification and labeling of handmade rugs produced here. Such certification will dispel any doubt or speculation as to the quality, content, texture, shine and standard of these rugs besides confirming that they are handmade for which this part of the country is known for its superb design and manufacture.
Needless to add, such certification by the government cannot be considered a petty import since it is the very premise and basis of customers’ propensity to buy – that of due and assured authenticity. of these mats. Such traditional grassroots handicraft industry boost is claimed to be the first of its kind in the country, perhaps, again due to the particular specialty of this industry in Jammu and Kashmir. It is undeniable that, albeit sporadically, time and time again, instances of duplicity might arise to the point of cheating under the notion of single sale but single “bargain” that this certification will help anticipate and erase. Since UT rugs are known for knot specialty, the QR-based label will capture vital rug parameters such as user GI, hand tufting, manufacturer details, knots per square inch, the material used and the texture, while standardizing the uniqueness of these carpets.
It is only natural that such a pragmatic move by the UT government would be welcomed by all carpet industry stakeholders and a scenario short of a bit of gloom plaguing the marketing of handmade carpets from the Jammu and Kashmir for many reasons especially for two years due to COVID virus pandemic may be terminated due to such certification. The fact that the UT government continually introduces one or another of the innovative measures to boost trade, industry and tourism should be emphasized and properly reciprocated by appropriating and implementing these measures in letter and the spirit. When the toil of the workers is “mixed” with the support of the government, it produces marvelous results, and traditional home and cottage industries like the one in reference can surely progress and prosper by spreading economic prosperity.