Shri Rakesh Kumar, Director General – EPCH and Chairman India Exposition Mart Ltd has been conferred Life Time Achievement Award for his tremendous contribution to the Handicrafts sector during Handicraft Summit organised by Handicrafts Exporters Association, Agra on 30th November, 2019.
The award was given away by Chief Guest Shri Choudhary Uday Bhan Singh, Hon’ble Minister of State of MSME, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh. COA members of EPCH and prominent members exporters from Agra and nearby areas were also present during award ceremony.
While speaking on the occasion Mr. Rajat Asthana, President, Handicrafts Exporters Association, Agra said that under the able leadership of Shri Rakesh Kumar, Handicrafts sector have achieved milestones such as in 1986-87 when the EPCH was set up, the export of handicrafts was just Rs 387 crores which has reached to the tune of Rs. 26,529 crores in 2018-19 and membership from 35 to over 10000. Shri Asthana further said the objective of holding handicraft summit was to bring the burning issues to the notice of authorities which Handicrafts Sector is facing in the Country. He said even though handicrafts from the country is on increasing trend but handicrafts exports from Agra is experiencing tremendous pressure due to delay in refund of GST and withdrawal of MEIS scheme by Govt. of India.
While receiving the award Shri Rakesh Kumar, Director General – EPCH said stone and marble industry of Agra is providing employment to 75 thousand artisans families at local level but facing number of challenges with regard to drawback, MEIS incentive. He further said that Council will work closely with the exporters of Agra and Firozabad and consider setting up of training centres, design centre and testing labs so that the products development can be done as per the latest designs and buyers preferences. Shri Kumar acknowledged that financial support for International participation and freight charges should also be provided to the exporters. Since a lot of tourists come to Agra to see Taj Mahal, sale to foreign tourists should be considered as deemed export and exempted from GST and urged the Minister to intervene in the matter. Mr. Kumar, assured the exporters all possible help will be provided by EPCH to resolve the MEIS incentive problem of the exporters of Agra by once again taking it up at the highest level.
Shri Rakesh Kumar, Director General – EPCH and Chairman India Exposition Mart Ltd. thanked the Handicrafts Exporters Association, Agra for conferring the Life Time Achievement award and also appreciated the efforts being made by HEA to promote the handicrafts industry of Agra.