'Shilpotsav', a fortnight-long handicrafts and folk art fair with more than 200 artisans from all over the country participating, kicked off at the capital's Dilli Haat on Wednesday.
"This festival is to showcase the skills of those who are poor but want to work and earn their living," Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Meira Kumar said while inaugurating the fair.
The participating artisans have been provided concessional finance, skill enhancement and training to help them develop marketing links.
"There are different schemes for different people depending on their needs and situations. It will help these people double their income," Kumar said.
Peter Watson, a visitor from the US, was happy with the exhibits. "The handicrafts and the bags we have seen are wonderful and I have planned to take at least 10 of them for my friends in the US," he said.
The participating artists are not paying any rent for their stall or for their conveyance as has been taken care of by the ministry in order to promote their talent countrywide.
"I am very happy, I have got loan of Rs.80,000 at an interest rate of two percent annually and they are educating my sisters too. They have paid for my conveyance, food and housing in Delhi," said Saiyad Mehtab of Jaipur, one of the participants.
The event will last till Oct 8, with a cultural programme presented by local artists thrown in every evening.
The apex bodies of the ministry that have organised the fair include NSFDC (National Scheduled Caste Finance and Development Corporation), NSKFDC (National Safai Karamchari Finance and Development Corporation), NHFDC (National Handicapped Finance and Development Corporation), NBCFDC (National Backward Class Finance Development Corporation), and NISD (National Institute of Social Defence).