Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Rural Development
06-April-2004 16:13 IST
Making Marketing Avenues available to Rural Artisans

Basant Saras at Dilli Haat
Ministry of Rural Development aims to bring out holistic development of rural areas and overall improvement in the quality of life of rural poor with focus on disadvantaged sections like Below Poverty Line (BPL), SC, ST and women. To make rural India self-reliant Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY) a self-employment programme is being implemented since 1st April 1999. SGSY seeks to bring the identified Below Poverty Line (BPL) families above the Poverty Line by organizing them into Self-Help Groups through social moblisation, training, capacity building and provision of income generating assets through a mix of bank credit and Government subsidy. Having identified that marketing is a major bottleneck coming in the way of rural artisans’ upliftment, a serious attempt has been made to overcome the problem. This initiative relates to making marketing avenues available to the rural artisans, particularly, craftsmen. The real cause of poverty alleviation programmes not meeting with success was the non-availability of marketing facilities to the rural artisans for their products. As a result the rural artisan was destined to be exploited by the middleman. This phenomenon resulted into artisans being at the mercy of middleman even after having put in hard work.

The Ministry of Rural Development gave a serious thought towards providing marketing facilities to the products of rural artisans after having seen the impact of empowerment of poor through Self-Help Groups (SHGs) organized under Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY). The Ministry of Rural Development decided to hold exhibition of products made by Self-Help Groups at regional and national level. At national level SARAS exhibition is being organized once in a year at India International Trade Fair, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi since 1999. The year 2003 added a new chapter in the history of SARAS with the introduction of regional SARAS. Basant Saras first in the series followed by Sawan Saras held at Dilli Haat in April and August 2003 respectively and Saras fairs at Hyderabad, Mumbai, Bhubaneshwar and Guwahati gave a new dimension to the confidence building of rural artisans. Encouraged by the response of artisans and rise in the sale avenues for rural products Ministry have decided to hold Saras Fair during the current year every month as follows – in May at Mount Abu (Rajasthan); in June at Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh); in July at Bangalore (Karnataka); in August at Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh); in September at Dilli Haat (Delhi); in October at Ahmedabad (Gujarat); in November at IITF (Pragati Maidan, Delhi); in November-December at Mumbai; in January 2005 at Bhubaneshwar (Orissa) and in February 2005 at Guwahati (Assam).

With this initiative of the Ministry in organizing SARAS fairs, artisans have experienced a soothing relief as they have freed themselves from the clutches of middleman and started getting the real value of their products. In Basant Saras which is presently being organized at Dilli Haat from 1-15 April 2004, artisans with a wide range of their vibrant products covering handicrafts, furniture, textiles (including handlooms), leather items, processed food items, pottery, paintings, bell metal items, bamboo products and a large number of gift items are participating. A total number of 314 artisans from various States and 90 officials have so far participated. As per preliminary estimates, products worth about Rs. 8 lakh are being sold daily. The sales are likely to pickup in the coming days since during last Basant Saras, goods worth Rs. 2 crore were sold. The maximum sales were recorded in respect of home furnishing items, home utility items and apparels. Apparels alone constituted 83 per cent of the total products brought to the fair.