Clustering for Economic Sustainability of the Traditional Jewellery Artisans of Ranthali: Challenges & Intervention
The rural jewellery artisans of Ranthali, a remote village in Assam, India, famous for its traditional gold jewellery craftsmaking, had been facing a dwindling business for several decades, inspite of such craftsmanship being a flourishing rural industry of the region till the 18th & 19th century. In the year 2010, under the MSE-CDP scheme, livelihood interventions were made through clustering these artisans, in an effort to revive them and make them economically sustainable. This research paper presents an analysis of a study conducted amongst the artisans of Ranthali to assess (a) whether cluster interventions helped enhance artisans’ livelihood and income using the livelihood model ‘The Coolie’s Framework’ and; (b)whether sustainable economic outcome has been achieved. The study relied mostly on primary data sources collected on the field. It concludes that though clustering for economic growth has several challenges, however, with a holistic approach and continuous multiple interventions over several years, certain successful changes were made. In the case of Ranthali, today, 300 artisans are into jewellery making as their primary occupation from the previous number of 150 & the ecosystem created has helped all 300 artisans to have their own household units with 20 of them having formal registered units.
Keywords: Clusters, Traditional Artisans, Sustainability, Holistic Approach, Ecosystem