Remember the much-publicised Hunar Haat, which was the government’s minority outreach programme which the Prime Minister visited in February last and relished ‘litti-chokha’, the signature dish from Bihar? Well, with the government being “vocal about local”, another edition of that crafts mela will be back in September this year.
“Utilising the time during the nationwide lockdown, Indian artisans and craftsmen have prepared their indigenous and exquisite products on a large scale and will bring them for display and sale in the next Hunar Haat,” said Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
With the COVID-19 outbreak making the government push for a self-reliant India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi talking “vocal about local”, another edition of this frats mela seems to not only aim for that target to a certain extent but also highlight the perception that the Centre is serious about generating jobs for minorities.
In fact, in the coming days, Hunar Haat, where artisans sell their products and earn a living, will be organized across India, including identified venues like Chandigarh, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Gurugram, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Dehradun, Patna, Nagpur, Raipur, and Jammu.
But what about social distancing? Naqvi said that people will be able to buy handicraft products not just at the mela but also through digital means. His Ministry has started a process to register these artisans and their indigenous products on “GeM” (Government e-Marketplace).
Several export promotion councils have shown interest to provide international market on a large scale for products of these artisans and craftsmen. This will not just increase their sales but minimize direct interaction.
Moreover, social distancing, hygiene, sanitisation and use of masks will be ensured at Hunar Haat. There will be a special “Jaan Bhi, Jahaan Bhi” pavilion to spread health awareness among the people with the theme of “say no to panic, yes to precautions”.
In February, Modi made a surprise visit at the Hunar Haat in the India Gate area where he lauded their crafts and backed their efforts during his ‘Mann ki Baat’ radio event. It is believed that another edition of the mela proposed for September has his strong backing.