27 May , 2018 , Sunday

TNHDC wins National e- Governance Silver Award for the year 2016-17 & also SKOCH Smart Governance Platinum Award for the year 2016-17

CMD's Message

My Dear Netisan (Friend of the Artisan's)

When I joined TNHDC as its CMD in September 2014, I was surprised by the fact that we didn’t have a list of our artisans. I was also worried about the fact that we were dealing mostly with suppliers and middlemen, and not with the artisan whom we were supposed to serve.

The Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), GOI, office would issue ID cards for artisans, and only those artisans could participate in centrally sponsored exhibitions etc. DC(H) had issued ID cards to about 60,000 artisans. We used to depend on this database for our purposes also. I felt that this manual database provided us with not many details of the artisan that we should ideally have. Like for example, if the State were to decide on an intervention for transgender, tribal, Muslim or women artisans, it would neigh be impossible to locate them, leave alone give any benefit. Thus arose the idea of an e-Repository of Artisans and their skills.

The idea was presented to the State Planning Commission for tapping the funds of the State Innovation Initiatives Scheme of the Government of Tamil Nadu, and sure enough we managed to get a sanction of Rs.1.00 crore from the fund. The idea was that while we collect and upload a huge amount of details regarding the socio-economic profile of the artisan, what would be visible to the commoner or connoisseurs of the arts would be the name of the artisan, his photo and photo of his products, so that anybody who is interested in that particular artisan or craft can then approach Poompuhar for taking up their requirement to the logical conclusion, while we can plan interventions for the artisans.

We tendered for an agency that would not only build the software application for us, but also conduct a census of our artisans in Tamil Nadu. While software development is easy, we hit a roadblock in the census part. While we were getting the filled up data, most of those were without photos of the artisans, and more importantly photographs of their handmade products. We wanted those photographs in a particular resolution. But this turned out to be our single biggest problem, as most of our artisans belong to the poorer section of the society, and hence couldn’t afford costly photography.

We have undertaken numerous innovations in the last three years to expand the market for our products, like using 3D designing and 3D printing (creation of a Design Research and Development Centre at our Corporate Office is towards this end) for creating contemporary designs, a Rs.20.00 crores Integrated Development Project for Handicrafts, taking up embellishment works of Chennai airport at a cost of Rs.10.00 crores, taking up embellishment works at airports of Tirupathi, Trichy, Madurai and Coimbatore, embellishment work at Ennore Port Trust, Secretariat, Ripon building etc, making TNHDC a completely online organization including being an ERP driven “anytime, anywhere” organization, using social media as a marketing tool to the hilt, e-commerce through www.poompuhar.org, having web pages in Snapdeal, Flipcart, Shopclues, Craftsvilla, IndiaMart etc, exploiting the power of technology to the hilt, and a lot more..

Currently we have artisan data only in the hundreds, and as we receive more and more filled up forms, with you help, we can have our dream e-Repository of artisans of Tamil Nadu, such that each and every artisan is featured on the site. I request you to kindly send us filled forms of any artisan that you may discover, whether at shops, homes or on the streets. Thus this site is still a work in progress. I would welcome suggestions for its improvement from all and sundry.

I expect that creation of this e-Repository www.artisaan.com, the first of its kind in the world perhaps, will further help our artisans expand their market and through this global market place, move towards prosperity while making exquisite hand crafted products for all of us.

With warm regards,

Santhosh Babu