Project Aatman (Aatmanirbhar Bharat Centre for Design)

Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Ministry of Culture, Government of India has set up the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Centre for Design with the objective to empower the indigenous craftsmen of India and to establish an international presence for their artworks. This Centre, named as Project Aatman is housed at an old barrack constructed in the year 1861 in the Red Fort premises, a site of national importance representing our rich past and culture. What is strikingly outstanding about this Centre is its philosophy to facilitate a self-reliant nation, a mission led by the Honourable Prime Minister of India in relation to the economic development of the country.

The Centre is facilitating craft development through new design innovations in sync with current trends for a niche market. To achieve this, Project Aatman is working towards creating successful collaborations with exceptionally talented artisans, subject experts, and other stakeholders to develop innovative solutions on design, marketing and business challenges. Relevant Ministries and Institutions at national level like National Institute of Design, Kalakshetra Foundation, Kalam Centre are playing a significant role in empowering the indigenous traditions of India. Independent craft projects are being mentored here by well-known designers and marketing professionals. Collaborations with all stakeholders are being meticulously planned to present the craft projects, linking our heritage with a renewed commitment to the future. Apart from reinventing the craft sector, Poject Aatman Is also providing economic stability and livelihood to the people associated with it.

The thrust areas for this Incubation Centre are-

  • Preservation and documentation of best practices related to unique crafts including Geographical Indications (GI).
  • Research and development for new product innovations
  • Mentorship programmes for artisans, craftsmen and others connected to the craft ecosystem in design, marketing, and business strategies.
  • Branding, marketing and retail with the objective to benefit the artisan/craftsmen community directly.
  • Dissemination of the importance of indigenous craft to the public through sensitization programmes and workshops
  • Aatmanirbhar Bharat Centre for Design is being developed as a one-of-a-kind platform to innovate and showcase the most significant and diverse segment of our heritage. The rich resource is available to the public to learn from, engage with, and appreciate.

    As we celebrate 75 years of India’s Independence, the Centre will create a rich legacy for future generations, embedded in centuries-old local traditions and culture.

    L1 Barrack, Red Fort, Delhi
    Floor plan
    20,000 square feet approx
    with a total of 100 rooms at two levels.

    Indira Gandhi National Centre For The Arts

    The Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts encompasses the study and experience of all the arts – each form with its own integrity, yet within a dimension of mutual interdependence, interrelated with nature, social structure, and cosmology.

    This view of the arts, integrated with, and essential to the larger matrix of human culture, recognises the role of the arts as essential to the integral quality of a person, at home with himself and society. It shares the holistic worldview so powerfully articulated throughout Indian tradition, and emphasized by modern Indian leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore.

    The arts here are understood to comprise the fields of creative and critical literature, written and oral; the visual arts, ranging from architecture, sculpture, painting, and graphics to general material culture, photography, and film; the performing arts of music, dance and theatre in their broadest connotation; and all else in fairs, festivals, and lifestyle that has an artistic dimension. Through diverse programmes of research, publication, training, creative activities, and performance, the IGNCA is continuously striving to place the arts within the context of the natural and human environment. The fundamental approach of the Centre is both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary.

    Recognizing the need to encompass and preserve the indigenous handicraft heritage of the country, a pioneering endeavour by IGNCA is to serve as a major resource centre for the crafts, and provide sustenance to the craft community in India. Project Aatman – Aatmanirbhar Bharat Centre for Design, as a subdivision of IGNCA, will accomplish this vision of a self-reliant India, rooted in our nation’s heritage and culture.


    The world is emerging from the crisis of the COVID pandemic which affected the lives of millions across the world, especially those that rely on micro and small medium industries. This project is a significant step towards eradicating the economic degradation of the Indian artisans working with traditional crafts. Accordingly, the Centre will be the first of its kind to have the following objectives-


    Education about crafts including Gi Products

    • To showcase under one roof the unique heritage, stories and strength of Indian crafts.
    • To be a one stop resource and research centre for students, academicians, and culture historians
    • Identify and assist in obtaining GI tag to deserving indigenous products.

    Exchange of Ideas to Ignite Innovation with crafts

    • To facilitate knowledge exchange led growth opportunities for artists and producers of crafts (skill workshops and training)
    • To foster and mentor special innovation initiatives with crafts
    • To coordinate and facilitate the cross exchange of ideas across different ministries of GOI, public and private partnerships related to crafts (collaborations, annual symposium, participation in international events etc.)

    Economic Opportunities with Craft Products

    • To provide a platform for earning opportunities leveraging crafts produced at the centre (market place - shops, e shops, brand development, marketing support, mentoring).
    • To formulate definite market policies for the artists.
    • To build a brand known for its exclusivity across domestic and international markets.

    Experience Creation around Products

    • To bring into national and international prominence the success stories of different regional artists, producers and related context & geography linked with the crafts
    • To bring alive the usage and consumption experience of products for potential visitors
    • To transport the visitors virtually and physically to the specific geographies and community context of the specific craft products

    Entrepreneurship Programmes for the Craft Community

    • To create an eco-system that will provide mental & intellectual boost to artisan communities.
    • To enable entrepreneurial skills in artisans through trainings, with the objective to build profitable enterprises.
    • To link products and indigenous skills with global markets through the use of innovative artificial intelligence and modern business tools


    The approach towards the project is all-inclusive to encourage artisans across India to access benefits through this intervention. In addition, the Centre is expected to have multiple benefits for different stakeholders including-


    Producers, artists and craftsmen connected to craft products :

    • Platform for recognition of the GI products and craftsmen
    • Exposure to other artistic & design practices beyond their native skillsets.
    • Opportunity to Collaborate with those connected to other GI products.
    • Ability to Command Higher Price Premium as a result of design intervention led innovation.
    • Consolidation of Effort & Outputunder monitored initiative.
    • Access to New Markets & Target Segmentsfor more income

    Potential collectors & buyers of such products:

    • Matchless Project Aatman branding for products created on-site, to become known for their exclusivity
    • Growing awareness about Unique & Best in Class Products from India

    Products that carry the GI tag :

    • Matchless Project Aatman branding for products created on-site, to become known for their exclusivity
    • Growing awareness about Unique & Best in Class Products from India

    Art, craft, fashion & design community :

    • a.One Stop Research Hub for updated GI related data, content & innovation.
    • b.Streamlined Access to GI product related artisans/craftsmen and ecosystem.

    Public/Visitors :

    • Education about crafts and their importance
    • Opportunity to directly interact with craftsmen
    • Increased exposure to the cultural heritage of India
    • Experiential learning through interactive display

    Geographical Indication

    The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has defined a Geographical Indication (GI) as a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness which is essentially attributable to the fact of its origin in that defined geographical locality, region, or country. To function as a GI, a sign must identify a product as originating in its given geographic location. Geographical indications have traditionally been considered under IP. Article 1(2) of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property of 1883 (Paris Convention) refers to ‘indications of source’ and ‘appellations of origin’ as objects of industrial property. Paragraph (3) of the same article specifies that the term ‘industrial property’ is not limited to ‘industry and commerce’ proper, but applies also to agricultural and extractive industries and to all manufactured or natural products.

    Most commonly, a Geographical Indication consists of the name of the place of origin of the good, such as Jamaica Blue Mountain or Darjeeling. But non-geographical names, such as Vinho Verde, Cava, or Argan Oil, or symbols commonly associated with a place, can also be included. Essentially, whether a sign functions as a geographical indication is a matter of national law and consumer perception. Since the qualities depend on the geographical place of production, there is a link between the product and its original location. A single criterion attributable to geographical origin is sufficient, be it the quality or characteristic of the product, or only its reputation.

    Geographical Indication in India

    Products that are Geographically Identified (GI) receive a certification from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India after the due process is completed. As a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), India enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999, which came into force with effect on 15th September 2003. Up to January 2021, 370 GI products of the country have been registered with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The first product to be accorded with the GI tag in India was Darjeeling tea in the year 2004-05.

    Geographical Indication at Aatmanirbhar Bharat Centre for Design


    With a strong focus on innovation in crafts, ABCD aims at supporting artisans with sustainable partnerships and market linkages. To achieve the broader vision of facilitating ‘Aatmanirbhar’ community of craftsmen, ABCD is focusing on following objectives: drive innovation within areas of crafts such as materials, techniques and product diversification etc.; connect artisans with new markets through design and business augmentation; introduce processes and technologies ensuring higher value-realization in crafts.

    ABCD is open to explore long- term strategic partnerships with organisations on areas such as:

    • Proposing a craft form for incubation at ABCD
    • Designing and developing brand specific products with master artisans at ABCD
    • Sourcing exclusive handmade products in bulk directly from ABCD artisans
    • Adopting an art form or craft cluster for further development
    • Providing networking and B2B business opportunities for artisans and their start-ups
    • Seeking mentorship from subject matter experts
    • Connecting ABCD and associated artisans with marketing channels such as exhibitions, journals to e-commerce platforms, retailers etc
    • Providing opportunities for artisans to learn and avail Government initiatives and benefits
    • Exploring innovative ways in extending benefits to the grassroots
    • Planning to implement the common development objectives set by Government of India.

    Connect with us to further this initiative for the advancement of artisan communities and promotion of Indian Handicraft and Handloom.

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    Aatmanirbhar Bharat Centre for Design

    L1 Barrack, Red Fort, Delhi - 110006


    abcd.ignca@gmail.com | 01123240516


    9:00am - 5:30pm
    Tue to Sun (Monday Closed)

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