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BW Businessworld

Boom Times Ahead

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After a period of gloom, handicraft exports are picking up fast. Exports jumped to $46.87 million in September 2009 from $16.88 million in the same period last year. And exporters and the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH), a nodal agency under the ministry of textiles to promote handicrafts, are upbeat about the times ahead. "We have identified our weaknesses, and worked upon them," says Raj Kumar Malhotra, chairman of EPCH. "I am sure this would give dividends in times to come."

India's biggest competitor in handicraft exports is China. "It is hard to compete with the Chinese, as their products are made mechanically," says Malhotra. "We have taken up the matter with the textiles ministry to levy safeguard duties on Chinese goods, especially during the festival seasons."

EPCH is now turning its attention to capacity and skill development programmes. Recently, it added two community facilitation centres in Jodhpur and Moradabad, and 23 more would follow. These community facilitation centres help handicraft workers enhance their skills, and reduce cost of production.

EPCH is also changing its focus on unexplored areas such as Argentina, Columbia, Croatia, Hungary, Brazil, Portugal and Oman. "For the first time, we got orders from these countries. From now on, these would be our new destinations, other than the US, the UK, Germany, etc.," says Malhotra.


Who Is Offering What

With a plethora of options in the market, BW  gives a snapshot of the competitive packages

Dish TV
Annual Titanium Package: 188 channels + value added services. Price: Rs 3,617
Transmission technology: MPEG 2.
Also available in trains, Kingfisher flights, and on the ships in the Indian waters.
Transponder capacity: 12
Value Added Services: Include movie on demand, gaming, job search, ICICI Active (allows access information on ICICI Bank products and services), etc.

Tata Sky
Annual Mega Pack: 172 channels + interactive services + 12 showcase movies. Price: Rs 5,500
Transmission technology: MPEG2, MPEG4
Transponder capacity: 11
Interactive services: Include shopping on TV, daily quizzes, story books on TV, cooking tips, etc.

Videocon D2H
Annual Diamond Pack: 160 channels + add-on packages on a monthly basis.
Price: Rs 2,900
Transmission technology: MPEG4
Transponder capacity: 6

Annual Pack: 155 channels + one regional pack at
Rs 5 per month. Movies subscription available on extra payment. Price: Rs 5,590. Transmission technology: MPEG4. Transponder capacity: 8

Digital TV (Airtel)
Annual Ultra Pack: (147 channels + 10 interactive services). There are separate packages available for South India. Other add-on packages are available on a monthly basis. Price: Rs 4,850. Transmission technology: MPEG4 Transponder capacity: 7
Interactive Services: Include shopping, astrology, games, news, etc.

Sun Direct
Shine Annual Pack: 130 channels + add on channels at Rs 6 to Rs 300 as per use. It gives its Dish and set top boxes for free. Installation charges (Rs 1,250) are also free. Price: Rs 2,775. There are separate packages for South India and North India. Transmission technology: MPEG 4 Transponder capacity: 6

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 26-10-2009)

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magazine china anilesh s mahajan exports epch handicraft