Handicrafts Export Awards to 68 companies for excellence in exports were distributed by Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Union Minister of State for Textiles along with launching of Handicrafts and Carpet Sector Skill Council by Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Union Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and Parliamentary Affair. Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Member of Parliament, S K Panda, Secretary (Textiles) and S K Biswas, Development Commissioner (Handicrafts) were also present during the ceremony beside luminaries from the trade and industry exporters of handicrafts. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’With the distribution of handicraft export awards, Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and Parliamentary Affairs also launched the new institution called Handicrafts and Carpet Sector Skill Council which has been set up to promote skill development amongst artisans, craft persons and workers of handicrafts and carpet products. While launching the Handicrafts and Carpet Sector Skill Council, Minister of State for Skill Development, Entrepreneurship and Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy said, ‘The role of skill development in Indian economy is very important keeping in view of the fact that percentage of skill manpower in India is very low as compared to China, Korea, Japan and Germany. There is a great need to develop skill of all sectors of the economy so that India become competitive in production of good quality products.’ Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixUnion Minister of State for Textiles Santosh Kumar Gangwar said, ‘Although exporters are doing excellent job of achieving high rate of growth, yet there is big scope of further improvement, the exporters need to develop new lines, new products and give emphasis on good skill, good quality to make products more competitive in world market.’ M/s C L Gupta Exports Ltd, Moradabad received trophy of top export award for their performance in all product categories of handicrafts. Whereas, World leader in Shawls, Ahujasons won the ‘Highest Export Award’ in ‘Shawls as Art ware including scarves and stoles’ category. Karan Ahuja, Director, Exports, Ahujasons said ‘It is a matter of great delight and pride to receive this award for the third time in a row. This is very encouraging and acknowledges our world class products in the global market.’ Trophies were also given under each product category which included Woodwares, Zari Handicrafts, Lace, Laces and Embroidery, India Items, Textiles based handicrafts, fashion jewellery and crafted stone, iron crafts, jute handicrafts, glass, artware, ceramic artwares and aluminium artwares.‘Handicraft export has been growing at an average annual growth rate of 15% during the last decade. However, growth during the current year was 30.80% in rupee terms and 17.55% in dollars terms as compared to previous year. Exports of handicrafts during the year 2013-14 was Rs. 23,504.42 crore,’ said Rakesh Kumar, Executive Director – EPCH (Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts).