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  • 05 Dec 2022 GS Paper 1 Indian Heritage & Culture

    Day 23

    Question 1. Handicraft is one of the largest employment generators after agriculture, but it has its own challenges. Discuss. (250 Words)

    Question 2. The inclusion of tangible heritage sites of India in UNESCO’S List of Tangible World Heritage Sites (WHS) has helped it in maintaining its intact status along with other benefits. Discuss. (150 Words)

    Answer 1


    • Start your answer by giving a brief about Handicrafts.
    • Discuss the significance of Handicrafts sector.
    • Discuss the challenges associated with the Handicrafts sector.
    • Conclude your answer by giving a way forward.


    Handicrafts are items that are constructed by hand using simple tools rather than mass production methods and equipment. The items produced as a result of the efforts are designed for a specific function or use as well as being ornamental in nature.

    The handloom and handicraft industry has been the backbone of India’s rural economy for decades. India produces woodware, artmetal wares, handprinted textiles, embroidered goods, zari goods, imitation jewellery, sculptures, pottery, glassware, attars, agarbattis, etc.

    Significance of the Handicrafts Sector

    • Largest Employment Generator: It is one of the largest employment generators after agriculture, providing a key means of livelihood to the country’s rural and urban population.
    • Eco-Friendly: The sector functions on a self-sustaining business model, with craftsmen often growing their own raw materials and is well known for being a pioneer of environment-friendly zero-waste practices.
    • Important for the Rich Art of our Traditions: Handicrafts are important for the rich art of our traditions, heritage, and culture, traditional skills and talents associated with people's lifestyle and history. E.g., Recognition to various products under GI Tag.
    • Requires Low Input Cost: The handicrafts industry provides employment opportunities even with low capital investments and has become a prominent medium for foreign income.

    Challenges Associated with Handicrafts Sector

    • Little visibility in the nation-wide market: The local artisans are finding it difficult to establish a connection with a widespread community. Where a few organisations are helping them to reach a wider audience, their craft needs organic connections that can help them connect with prospective buyers.
    • Lesser know how of latest market trends: Handicrafts are the artwork of precision. They demand skilled craftsmanship and years of practice. While Indian artisans are proficient in churning out unparalleled hand-made products, they’re struggling to stay in tune with the innovative trends. It may be due to the lack of financial capacity to infuse new technological trends or inadequate training.
    • Inaccessibility of Funds: They do not have access to credit for their business models creates unsustainability in their business.
    • Low Penetration of Technology: They do not have access to new and upgraded technology which increases the cost of their products in the market. In addition, the sector is plagued by implicit contradiction of handmade products, which are typically at odds with scale of production.
    • Poor Institutional Framework: Handicraft production mostly happens in the villages and therein the people are not well organised like cooperatives and have a limited area of their operations.

    Way Forward

    • Indian craft sector has the scope to become a billion-dollar marketplace with the right support and business environment.
    • Developing a systematic approach, which nurtures the intrinsic value of craft skills and opens avenues for product design and manufacturing will increase access to new markets.
    • Alongside, capitalising on e-commerce for online visibility and operational efficiencies will prove to be a critical success factor as the sector evolves and gains further traction.
    • The present time of globalization, the handicraft sector has massive opportunities in the domestic and global markets. While the precarious condition of artisans needs careful interventions for their upliftment, the government has already been making great strides by adopting measures that will make handicraft products competitive globally and improve the conditions of our craftsmen.

    Answer 2


    • Start your answer by giving a brief about UNESCO’S List of Tangible World Heritage Sites (WHS).
    • Discuss the benefits of the inclusion of a site in the UNESCO’S List of Tangible World Heritage Sites (WHS).
    • Conclude suitably.


    Through World Heritage Site (WHS) designation, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (“UNESCO”) seeks to encourage the identification, protection, and preservation of cultural and natural heritage that is considered to be of ‘Outstanding Universal Value.


    The following are the benefits of the inclusion of a site in the UNESCO’S List of Tangible World Heritage Sites (WHS):

    • Funding: The funding generated by WHS status improves conservation levels and the increased publicity provides greater scrutiny in planning applications influencing the scale and quality of local development. WHS status is seen as having a marginal impact on the planning system, but a significant impact on funding.
    • Tourism: WHS status is suggested to provide a promotional advantage and a ‘branding effect’ which encourages additional visitors. The evidence indicates that this is likely to have a marginal effect (0-3%) and this will be stronger for less ‘famous’ sites.
    • Education and learning: WHS status is considered to be a tool for learning engagement as it helps us in knowing about our old traditions and culture.
    • Social Capital: WHS status is recognised as having the potential for providing increased social unity and cohesion through increasing opportunities for interaction and engagement within the local community.
    • Partnership: WHS status is said to increase the level of partnership activity through the consultation required to create and fulfil the requirements of the management plan. The hypothesis is largely borne out by the evidence. Local residents and visitors benefit indirectly through improved management with clean and healthy surroundings as well as with the increased employment opportunities.
    • Protection during wartime: The site becomes protected under Geneva convention against destruction or misuse during the war.


    When taking into account the advantages of a site being included as a World Heritage Site, we can state that it is a great initiative for the protection and preservation of the specific site as well as significant in terms of the economic benefits that flow to the local population.

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