QR-Codes for handicraft products

The world is digitally integrated nowadays, distances don’t matter at all. Such is the digital impact that once inseparable telegrams and landline phones are obsolete, watches are no more worn, and radio and cameras also are extinct. Practically a mobile has become indispensable, for bank transactions, food and grocery delivery, bills, medicines and so on, you name the product, delivery and services are all available through mobiles only. The younger generation is smart enough to learn things quickly but the rural and old generations still lagging in this art of mobility. This hampers things to some extent specifically from a business point of view. Gone are the days of face-to-face deals or even telephonic interactions, now things are there on Instagram, e-commerce portals and even individual or company websites. Select it, order it, pay for it and things get delivered. Jammu and Kashmir was the last one in India to get mobile connectivity, lagging behind the rest of India due to various other reasons but for the last three years, extraordinary efforts are being put into getting things moving rapidly. One such effort is the launching of QR-Code based labels of 13 different GI & Non-GI registered crafts of J&K. The QR-Code labelled products are Kashmir Pashmina, Kashmir Sozni, Kani Shawl, Paper Machie, Khatamband, Kashmir Walnut Wood Carving, all GI Registered Crafts, and Namdah, Crewel, Chain-Stitch, Silverware, Filigree, Copperware and Willow Wicker, all six non-GI Crafts. This will help immensely for brand positioning of handicraft products, helps in packaging, a distinct authentic product is marketed, less cumbersome for buyers and ultimately helps the growth of the handicraft industry and earnings of artists. It assures quality to both national as well as international buyers, benefitting craftsmen, traders and exporters. All these steps go a long way to sustain artisans, saving time as well as effort. LG Administration is putting the best step forward with time to time innovative plans devised to benefit handicraft craftsmen.
No more ephemeral approach, sustained genuine efforts are being put in to get ten more products GI tagged. The procedure is rigorous and time-consuming but the results are too good to be ignored and missed. This is not the only effort put in, stakeholders are participating in various craft exhibitions throughout India with the active support of the department. These proactive steps have created a buzz around Jammu and Kashmir products and the products, which despite being GI tagged, were not getting due promotion and recognition. Dynamics have changed completely, the endeavour of artisans and craftsmen have been duly acknowledged and various departmental schemes have been introduced to sustain them. Self-help groups have been formed, finances provided, and the platform for commercial activities given, so much has been done and all these combined plans are giving favourable results. Jammu and Kashmir’s products are getting wide publicity and acceptability with a special image and space of our own in minds of buyers. Regular interactions and consultations with stakeholders, and buyer-seller meets are new norms implemented, creating opportunities for artisans to put forward their problems and suggested corrective action, and these go a long way in resolving many important issues.
The only visible drawback is the absence of products from the Jammu Division. No Jammu handicraft product has been GI-tagged, not even Basohli paintings. The list of Jammu handicraft products includes Basohli paintings, Basohli pashmina shawls, Tweed Products, Phoolkari, Stapple Embroidery, Bamboo craft, Calico printing, Chikhri woodwork, Wheat straw products to name a few. Why Jammu Handicrafts Directorate is not able to get GI tags or showcase products even for Q-codes? It is a disappointing matter and needs a serious performance audit. When Administration is providing equal grants and opportunities why one division is not able to perform and give desired results? All these initiatives of administration are the right steps in the right direction and will provide impetus to the efforts of the weavers/craftsmen/artisans, their hard work is producing the desired results now.