Apart from being eco-friendly, handmade paper products are admired for their simplicity, exclusivity and style quotient. Handmade paper is widely used in manufacturing gift and craft items, in addition to being used as carry bags. As per the last stats available, Indian handmade paper industry exports about Rs.400 cores of paper annually.
The origin of Indian handmade paper industry can be dated back to 14th century when they flourished under the monarchs but faced a near extinction after the arrival of the brits. The industry got a real boost or in some sense a revival after independence. Since then, Govt. of India has taken special interests and offered specific subsidies to this sector in almost every five year plan.
Experts believe that the demand for these products in India will continue to grow as the country’s per capita consumption is increasing exponentially. For our exporters, the United states continues to remain the biggest buyer for such products followed by UK and European union.
Some skeptics suggest that using paper products is like a two way sword, as it helps the environment being a biodegradable product but, indirectly contribute towards its destruction as paper products need cutting down of woods which puts extra pressure on our forestation area.
Many critics have challenged this theory stating that most of the paper used in making such paper is recycled stuff. Handmade paper products are made by recycling waste agro raw materials like cotton rags and small amounts of waste paper. Also agro fibers like jute, straw, banana are added to the primary fiber to create mottled handmade paper.
Handmade paper production is a low capital investment affair. As more and more people are venturing into this business the need of the hour is that the government takes initiative to train the new entrants. Only then, these guys would be able to deliver quality products and compete on a global scale. More importantly, this industry helps create means of livelihood in the rural areas which employs unskilled workers, usually women and empower them financially.
The handmade paper products suppliers are gradually expanding their range as they are now dabbling in watermark, filter paper, drawing sheets and so on. As the demand for eco-friendly products is growing by leaps and bounds, market observers are keeping an eye on India’s performance in this segment. Hopefully, in the times to come, India would be able to stamp its authority in this field across the globe.