The NBER defines an economic recession as: "a significant decline in [the] economic activity spread across the country, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP growth, real personal income, employment (non-farm payrolls), industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales." Economist Julius Shiskin suggested several rules of thumb for defining a recession, one of which was "two down quarters of GDP".The roots of a recession and its true starting point actually rest in the several quarters of positive but slowing growth before the recession cycle really begins. Often in a mild recession the first quarter of negative growth is followed by slight positive growth, then negative growth returns and the recession trend continues.

The carpet weaving industry in India is highly labour intensive and it forms a considerable part of the handicraft industry. It is an almost 100 per cent export oriented industry. The industry provides livelihood to more than 2.5 million artisans and earns significant foreign exchange for the country. Export earnings from carpet industry have been increasing over the years especially from 1996 onwards. Handmade Carpet manufacturing take long process right from the stage the carpet's design is imagined till the time the carpet finds its place at the buyer's warehouse.

The carpet industry is spread over some specific belts in India. The traditional carpet manufacturing regions are located in Bhadohi-Mirzapur, and Agra in the state of Uttar Pradesh, Jaipur in the state of Rajasthan and in the Kashmir valley.

Due to recession, export of carpets decreased from Rs. 3524.73 crore in the year 2007-08 to Rs. 2708.73 crore in 2008-09. Total export of carpets declined from 478.70 crores in the quarter April-June 2008 to 424.15 crores in the quarter April-June 2009 i.e. the decrease of 11.40 % in the export value.

Decrease in the export orders of carpets has pushed carpet weavers and business community including sub-contractors, owners of dyeing plants, washing units to close down their businesses. Although Government has declared bail-out package for the industry but in the longer run, it is advisable that carpet industry can think of diversification, more innovative products, cost-effective product line and technological advancements in the interest of weavers. The industry with a history of more than 400 years must flourish so that the finest work of the artists comes into reality.
(The author teaches management in MGCG University, Chitrakoot)

About Author / Additional Info:
- Devendra Prasad Pandey