Census

Handicraft artisans 1995-96

H.R. AMETA

HANDICRAFT is our national heritage and despite its substantial contribution to the Indian economy in terms of employment and income, there is near total lack of information on the artisans. Policy-makers lack data for suitable planning, as even the size of the artisan population is not available. The handicraft sector is under the Ministry of Textiles, GOI and artisan development is one of its thrust areas. The Office of the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts) implements a number of development schemes ranging from skill formation and improvement of production techniques to marketing at home and abroad. However, the impact of such schemes is not substantial and one important reason is the lack of proper information about the target group. In view of this, the Office of the Development Commissioner (H) planned to conduct an All India Census of Handicraft Artisans in 1993.

Since census enumeration of handicraft artisans is a huge task involving several agencies for fieldwork, a need for clear-cut definition of handicraft artisans, type of craft activities and the concentration of handicraft pockets was felt necessary. This task was given to the National Council of Applied Economic Research, New Delhi in 1993.

In the absence of any readily available past estimates which could serve as a basis for updating, the Council decided to collect the necessary primary information from different states. Though handicrafts are a state subject forming a part of rural industries, most governments could not furnish any proper database on craftsmen, as the states focus more on the marketing side rather than production. On the other hand, several nodal agencies set up by the Office of the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts) in the form of marketing and extension service centres across the country were found to be fairly well acquainted with the state of handicraft activity in their areas of jurisdiction. These centres were, therefore, contacted for collection of primary information on crafts practised, areas of craft concentration, and an idea of craft persons in each craft. The NCAER submitted it report ‘Census of Handicraft Artisans – Phase I’ to the Office of the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts) in June 1993.

State-wise estimates of artisan population served as a basis for allocation of enumeration work to different government and non-government organizations. The Office of the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts) selected 15 organizations, in consultation with NCAER for the survey.

NCAER prepared a well-structured questionnaire in consultation with the office of the DC (H) and shortlisted officials were imparted extensive training. The questionnaire was printed in local language of the state by the concerned field agency. Since the codes were developed in advance and questionnaires canvassed in different languages, no problem was encountered during state-wise analysis and later, compilation of data at all India level.

NCAER brought out reports of census of handicraft artisans separately for each state (26 including Delhi) and for each union territory (6 union territories). While volume 1 to 26 contain state-wise handicraft census data at district level, volume 27 presents the census data for each union territory separately. An all India summary was also prepared giving state-wise data and all India averages and totals. The following table presents the population of handicraft artisans by sectors of production across the states.

 

State-wise Number of Handicraft Units and Artisans in Household and non-Household Sectors in 1995-96

(figures in number)

State/Union Territory

Handicraft Units by Sector

Handicraft Artisans by Sector

 

HH

Non-HH

Total

HH

Non-HH

Total

Andhra Pradesh

76162

121

76283

120457

1423

121880

Arunachal Pradesh

4011

33

4044

15539

196

15735

Assam

29816

544

30360

97363

3119

100482

Bihar

70485

48

70533

212591

524

213115

Delhi

11140

5881

17021

28875

16029

44904

Goa

465

107

572

953

169

1122

Gujarat

32199

498

32697

126289

15681

141970

Haryana

13845

2377

16222

67595

50338

117933

Himachal Pradesh

25456

602

26058

44614

4401

49015

Jammu & Kashmir

132789

1143

133932

524351

17768

542119

Karnataka

12330

53

12383

21388

391

21779

Kerala

7191

204

7395

13071

2187

15258

Madhya Pradesh

21804

150

21954

49880

1243

51123

Maharashtra

42541

9908

52449

93816

19000

112816

Manipur

97606

445

98051

378123

1865

739988

Meghalaya

11360

152

11512

52774

790

53564

Mizoram

2185

28

2213

5127

133

5260

Nagaland

17484

119

17603

79285

593

79878

Orissa

25598

370

25968

65974

3382

69356

Punjab

53700

57

53757

101425

482

101907

Rajasthan

126690

2181

128871

399622

8078

407700

Sikkim

2169

29

2198

9605

163

9768

Tamil Nadu

30310

1436

31746

117894

7448

125342

Tripura

77266

109

77375

243726

769

244495

Uttar Pradesh

282040

1764

283804

1159668

16861

1176529

West Bengal

217648

1049

218697

551003

3278

554281

Andaman & Nicobar

374

121

495

740

350

1090

Chandigarh

163

5

168

396

34

430

Dadra & Nagar Haveli

101

0

101

111

-

111

Daman & Diu

218

0

218

278

-

278

Lakshadweep

21

3

24

43

83

126

Pondicherry

247

105

352

986

846

1832

All India

1425414

29642

1455056

4583562

177624

4761186

 

While NCAER estimated 48.2 lakh handicraft artisans in its pre-census report, the final census results at 47.6 lakh almost tallies at the all India level. However, there is a difference across the states. For Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra the census figures were much lower than earlier estimates in a pre-census survey. Despite sufficient care to ensure the reliability of data, normal reporting errors cannot altogether be eliminated. A few limitations of the census work were.

* This is not a census enumeration in a true sense. Each and every household of all villages and urban localities was not visited. Only craft concentration pockets (CCPs) were visited by the enumeration team. Further, all households in a CCP were not canvassed to confirm the artisan population.

* The unorganized nature of craft activity coupled with its wide dispersal throughout the length and breadth of the country posed a challenge to the task of enumeration. As such, craft persons not fairly known by their craft activity are not covered.

* Artisans engaged in crafts such as gold jewellery with and without precious metal are not covered as the supply of data on value of production, sale, etc. was doubtful.

* All artisans engaged in the production of agarbattis are not covered in the present census. Only a few, whose activity is distinctly handicraft, are covered in the survey. Most of the agarbatti producing units were not contacted, as in the case of Mysore where agarbatti is considered a cottage industry.

* Artisans engaged in stone dressing and crushing craft are not covered.

* Artisans engaged in manufacturing of coconut leaf products are also not covered.

* Many of the workers trained in handicraft activity by the government agencies or any other voluntary organizations have not actually started the work. As such trained handicraft artisans not practicing the handicraft activity are omitted from the purview of census enumeration.

The fieldwork for census of handicraft artisans was carried out during 1995-96, except in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and the union territory of Chandigarh where the activity was carried out during 1999-2000.

Handicraft activity is predominantly in the unorganised household sector. It accounts for 98% of units and 96.3% artisans. Artisans in the household sector are mostly household members practicing handicraft activity jointly at their residence, who, if need arises, employ other artisans for work. Hardly 3.2% household units hire other artisans accounting for 3.1% of the total work force (artisans) in the household sector. While the earlier table shows the distribution of handicraft units and artisans by sector across the states, following table indicates the sector-wise per cent share at all India level.

 

Distribution of Handicraft Units and Artisans by Sector (per cent)

Handicraft Sector

# of Units

# of Artisans

Household Sector

97.96

96.27

Non-household Sector

2.04

3.73

All India Total

100.00

(1455056)

100.00

(4761186)

Note: Figures in parenthesis are absolute numbers

 

Handicraft artisans are spread throughout the country. The rural segment accounts for 78.2% units and 76.5% artisans. The proportion of household sector is much higher in rural areas compared to the non-household sector. The following table shows the magnitude of handicraft units and artisans by location.

 

Total Number of Handicraft Units and Artisans by Location

Location of Handicraft Unit

# of Units

# of Artisans

Rural Areas

1137580

(78.2%)

3640582

(76.5%)

Urban Areas

317476

(21.8%)

1120604

(23.5%)

All India Total

1455056

4761186

 

 

Textiles, including yarns of cotton, woollen, jute and mesta is the most widely used medium of craft across the country. More than 58% of the artisans earn their livelihood either fully or partially through this medium. Females in almost every household practice embroidery work by hand, though commercial participation of the activity is limited. However, it accounts for 23.80% of artisans in the textile medium followed by artisans engaged in manufacture of woolen and silk carpets by hand at 18.52%. Among other medium of crafts, cane and bamboo accounts for 12.49% of total handicraft artisans followed by 6.40% using straw, grass, fibre and leaf. Clay and ceramics and wood account for 5.50 and 5.48% artisans respectively.

The following table gives the per cent share of handicraft units and artisans using different medium of craft across the country.

 

Distribution of Handicraft Units and Artisans by Craft Medium (per cent)

Medium of Craft (major craft)

# of Units

# of Artisans

Textiles

   

Carpets

8.78

10.82

Other floor coverings

3.62

4.38

Other textiles

44.30

43.22

All Textiles

56.70

58.42

Cane and bamboo

12.63

12.49

Wood

6.19

5.48

Metal

3.62

3.68

Stone

0.80

0.71

Straw, grass, fibre and leaf

7.40

6.40

Leather

2.79

2.85

Glass

0.83

1.03

Clay and ceramics

5.16

5.50

Ivory, bone, horn and shells

0.61

0.60

Miscellaneous

3.27

2.84

All mediums (all major crafts)

100.00

(1455056)

100.00

(4761186)

Note: Figures in parenthesis are absolute numbers

 

The distribution of handicraft artisans by religion is: Hindu 70%, Muslim 23%, Sikh 2%, Christian 4%, and Others 1%.

Handicraft artisans classified by social group are: Scheduled castes 23%, Scheduled tribes 11%, Other backward castes 30%, and Others 36%.

 

Handicraft Artisans in India Classified by Sex and Age Group (per cent)

Age group in years

Male

Female

Total

Upto 14

10.03

11.13

10.55

15-25

34.23

35.92

35.03

26-40

33.90

33.92

33.91

41-60

19.06

17.12

18.14

Above 60

2.78

1.91

2.37

All age groups

100.00

(2503905)

100.00

(2257281)

100.00

(4761186)

Note: Figures in parenthesis are absolute numbers

 

Incidence of Child Labour in Major Craft Activities in India

(Artisans under 15 years as % of total # of artisans) (per cent)

Medium of Craft (major craft)

Segment

 

Family

Hired

Both

Textiles

     

Carpets

6.9

0.9

7.8

Other floor coverings

8.7

0.7

9.5

Other textiles

10.4

0.4

10.7

All Textiles

9.6

0.5

10.0

Cane and bamboo

9.5

-

9.5

Wood

8.8

0.4

9.2

Metal

10.4

0.3

10.7

Stone

9.8

0.4

10.2

Straw, grass, fibre and leaf

11.3

-

11.3

Leather

12.8

0.2

13.0

Glass

14.0

0.8

14.8

Clay and ceramics

15.3

0.2

15.5

Ivory, bone, horn and shells

9.0

0.1

9.1

Miscellaneous

12.5

0.2

12.7

All mediums (all major crafts)

10.2

0.4

10.6