Reimagining the Craft Economy Post Covid-19

India’s craft sector, the second largest employer with over 200 million artisans, next only to Agriculture, has experienced dramatic changes because of the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown.

British Council in partnership with Fashion Revolution India, launched a report titled Reimagining the craft economy post Covid-19 based on insights and experience of artisans, designers, craft organisations, design institutes, policymakers and consumers. It explores case studies, good practices and sets out recommendations for a sustainable roadmap to recovery.

The report focuses on:

- Economic and social impact of Covid-19 on the Indian craft sector

- Challenges to employment, economic opportunities and market linkages

- Interventions by national and state governments and industry during Covid-19

- Good practices and emerging business models in the craft sector

- Recommendations for the long-term resilience, skills and capacity of the crafts economy

Key insights from the report: 

  • The pandemic triggered a mass exodus of artisans from cities to villages, and 22% of the sector lost 75% of their annual income. 
  • According to the survey of 50 craft organisations, 44% faced cancellations by buyers.
  • According to a report by the Society for Labour & Development, 3.6 million garment workers withdrew a total of Rs. 11,540 crores from their Employee Provident Fund (EPF) savings account, which is usually saved for their children’s education and for emergencies.
  • The Central government supported the sector through a #VocalForLocal campaign that raised awareness on supporting craftspeople
  • Craft organisations adapted to new realities and pivoted to digital platforms introduced new products according to changed consumer behaviour, switching to D2C (Direct to Consumer) business model
  • The uncertainty brought fragmented stakeholders together for collective action.

 Based on the insight, several recommendations have been identified to shape the recovery of the craft sector.

 We extend our gratitude to all those who contributed to the survey and to the report. Click below to read the recommendations and the full report.

Click here

The report responds to the UN Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development by providing opportunities, supporting inclusive growth, and promoting innovation. See how the British Council is supporting this important year here.