Artisans are facing never-ending financial agony as there is a drop in their sales after the pandemic.
Bengaluru: Artisans in Bangalore, are facing huge financial losses and are finding it difficult to survive, especially those who rely on this as their only source of income. According to Karnataka State Handicrafts Development Corporation Limited, nearly 25 percent of artisans in the city have lost their jobs.
N.ShivaDatta, a sculptor, said, “Financial crisis is very high from two years. For right being, we are borrowing some money from somebody for interest to face this pandemic recession.”He added that in his thirty years of experience this is the first time that he is facing a financial crisis. His income is entirely dependent on the active functioning of schools and colleges; for whom he makes mementos, shields, and plaques. He also makes statues and idols for festivals. Due to the pandemic, all his main sources of income were shut down, directly affecting his livelihood.
For many others, melas and exhibitions, which are not being organized regularly anymore because of the pandemic, used to be their main source of income.
UTTHAN is an organization in Bengaluru, which provides financial aid to artisans’. They have been working for 12 years and they have been providing ration, toolkit, and other essential amenities to them.
Dijantika Dev, Operation Executive of UTHHAN –Empowering artisans Organisation said, “They don’t have sales, people don’t have food to eat due to Covid. For the last 5-6 years we are helping artisans from remote areas like tribal artisans. They are selling it at so low cost for food. In Karnataka approximately we helped 2000 people.” She also added that artisans are not able to afford raw materials as they need to be transported from various states, and the cost of transportation has gone up, owing to the rising petrol and diesel prices. They are unable to buy raw materials like bronze, copper, and zinc as their prices are high. Procuring bamboo from states like Assam and Tripura is not feasible anymore as the process takes nearly one month.
As per the Karnataka State Handicrafts Development Corporation Limited, there are nearly 4000 artisans in Bengaluru. The PRADHAN MANTRI MUDHA YOJANA SCHEME was launched by the government to help artisans. Under the scheme, the beneficiaries can apply for a loan of Rs.50, 000-10, 00,000. However, only 20 percent of them have applied as the rest were unaware of the scheme.
PuttaswamyG, a member of the Karnataka State Handicrafts Development Corporation Limited said, “If their account is good they are getting. If they are not maintaining bank balance they are not getting the loan.”
As the festival season is just around the corner these artisans are hoping that their livelihood will blossom.