Boost to tribal arts and crafts! Soon, only tribal gifts to be given at government events

Banikinkar Pattanayak
To start with, around 100 items will be identified for "targetted promotion", both within and outside the country, a senior government official told FE.

Soon, various ministries and departments may gift only tribal items to dignitaries at official functions and festivals like Diwali. Besides, prominent ad gurus will likely be hired as part of a broader government initiative to promote tribal products and culture.

An inter-ministerial meeting on January 12, chaired by commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal, decided to rope in large retail chains for marketing organic produce, tribal artefacts, garments and cuisines, in consultations with industry bodies like CII, Ficci and Assocham. To start with, around 100 items will be identified for "targetted promotion", both within and outside the country, a senior government official told FE.

The move follows a directive by Prime Minister Narendra Modi-who chaired a key meeting on January 7 on tribal affairs-to the commerce and industry ministry to steer the initiative to boost both exports as well as domestic consumption of tribal products.

The Bureau of Indian Standards and Quality Council of India would develop international standards for such products to help improve their global reach. "Opportunities available with railways, both as a customer and as a facilitator, for sale of these products will also be tapped," said the official.

The government is also looking at infrastructure required for testing and certification of these products, develop tariff codes and set up tribal clusters for promotion.

The meeting convened by Goyal also saw the participation of the ministries of tribal affairs, minority affairs, Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India and industry chambers like CII, the official said.

The Budget for 2019-20 saw the outlay for the tribal affairs ministry rising to Rs 6,815 crore from Rs 6,000 crore in the revised estimate for the previous fiscal. The allocation for the Centrally-sponsored schemes was raised only marginally to Rs 3,810 crore from Rs 3,778 in 2018-19.