Tucked away in a village near Jaipur is the world’s largest centre of handmade paper. New Delhi, the capital city of India, is also an ideal location to find both of these materials because it has a thriving rag trade, which provides abundance of old cloth and vast amounts of used paper. What are its advantages?

The growing concern about fast-depleting forest cover, coupled with renewed interest in the quality of papers has generated a new study of the paper maker’s materials, especially the pulps and fibres. Handmade paper production has low capital investment, thereby promoting local entrepreneurship, which generates more local employment.

Handmade paper is an environmentally sound technology, depleting lesser resources and causing less pollution than paper mill factories. It can produce certain specialized varieties of papers, for example, watermark, filter paper and drawing sheets. The cost difference between handmade paper and mill-made paper is marginal.

There has been a phenomenal growth in the export market for Indian Handmade Paper and its products. The last decade or so has witnessed rapid growth in export as a number of handmade paper and paper products manufacturing units have become hundred percent export oriented units and helped in increasing the foreign exchange of the country.

With several technological changes taking place in the paper industry, the government has to rethink its land use policies and conservation strategies to protect the natural resources. According to the senior officials of Handmade Paper and Fibre industry, the handmade paper products are a real treasure full of creative, innovative and thought provoking ideas and the industry has got an excellent future because of value addition and excellent export oriented prospects.

The sector also plans to tab or explore the very big area of packaging, be it for medicine or fertilizers. Even the Internal Trade Fairs like PAPEREX have been fruitful trade encouraging activities. Most units in India have become totally export oriented.

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