Zardosi is classified as a handicraft by the Government of India and receives support from the Office of the Development Commissioner (DC) (Handicrafts). The flagship program of the ministry of textiles for handicraft artisans is the Ambedkar Hastashilpi Vikas Yojana (AHVY) that supports craft clusters including Zardosi by providing input, infrastructure, training and social security.
Women working on Zardosi embroidery
The Zardosi clusters are predominantly in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and the Union Territory of Delhi. The Uttar Pradesh government has recently announced the establishment of marketing hubs for Zardosi artisans, zardoz, who are present in large numbers in the state.
An Artisan Credit Card (ACC) is also provided to handicraft artisans by the D.C.’s office so that they may take loans from nationalised banks without any security.
Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH)
The Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts, under the Ministry of Textiles, liaises between handicraft exporters in India and foreign buyers and also organises buyer-seller meetings and trade fairs. It is additionally responsible for establishing a National Centre for Design and Product Development in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. Zardosi is one of the crafts that comes under the purview of the council.
The non-profit sector initiatives for Zardosi include those that focus on improvement of socio-economic conditions of artisans and those that conduct training programs in Zardosi. The Self-Employed Women’s Association's work is centered on training and welfare activities, union activities and co-operative activities. It trains women in the art of Zardosi and provides them employment from major retailers.
The Mahila Sanatkar MACS-member of Confederation of Voluntary Associations based in Andhra Pradesh, conducts an Entrepreneurship Development Program (Mahila Sanatkar MACS) that conducts training programs in Zardosi, and arranges opportunities for its participants with retail chains such as Fab India and Shoppers’ Stop.
Kalatmak Handicrafts Self Help Group Foundation of Lucknow works with Zardosi artisans and has secured the Geographical Indication (GI) registration for Zardosi and has also signed a MoU with the Government of San Luis, Argentina. The foundation can now market locally produced handicrafts and handloom products in the Latin American and Argentinian markets.
Image: Vanitha Jyothi Mahila Sangam