New Delhi: India’s handicraft exports, one of the sectors worst hit by the global financial crisis, have fallen by over 50% so far this financial year, industry figures showed Tuesday.
Handicrafts exports fell by 54.62% to $13.53 billion between April 2008 and February 2009 from the same period in the previous financial year, the Export Promotion Council for Handicraft said.
“The decrease in exports of handicrafts is due to the slump in demand in major markets of the US and Europe,” the organization said.
The sector, which employs seven million people, exports over 50% of its products to the US.
The fall comes despite various trade promotion measures announced by the Congress-led government, which faces general elections starting in April.
Among those goods hardest hit were overseas sales of art metalware, wooden items, hand-printed textiles and scarves, and imitation jewellery.
India’s trade performance is of critical concern to the Congress-led government as the export sector is one of the country’s biggest employment generators.
An overall export tumble is another sign that India is beginning to feel the full brunt of the global slump, economists say, with no early recovery in prospect.