New Delhi, Oct 12 (PTI) Textiles Minister Smriti Zubin Irani today asked exporters to take care of the welfare of artisans, saying they are the backbone of the sector.

Inaugurating the IHGF – Delhi Fair Autumn 2017 at Greater Noida, she appreciated the scheme launched by Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts under the CSR programme for education of children of artisans.

The minister “has urged the exporting fraternity to take care of the welfare of artisans who are the backbone of the sector, the textiles ministry said in a statement.

The minister informed that handicraft exports have increased by 13.15 per cent in 2016-17 to Rs 24,392 crore.

Further, Irani stated that an initiative is being taken to promote foreign direct investment in handicrafts sector and opportunities for joint ventures for exporters and importers.

A symposium on ‘Investment Opportunities in Handicrafts Sector’ is being organised.

“This initiative will give opportunities for overseas buyers to bring technical know-how, investment and marketing networks to form joint ventures for promoting Indian handicrafts in the world market,” the statement said.

About 2,980 exhibitors of home, lifestyle, fashion, textiles and furniture are participating in the fair.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.