I know that handmade paper can never supply the daily growing demand for paper. But lovers of the 7000,000 villages and their handicrafts will always want to use handmade paper, if it is easily procurable.

- Mahatma Gandhi
  Haraijan, 14 September 193


➢ About Handmade Paper

Handmade Paper – A Saviour of Ecology and Environment

Paper is an extremely versatile material that has managed to infiltrate all facets of our modern culture – from being a writing material for communication and information to being used in science & technology, and industry & education sector, where its presence is well established. We could not imagine the world without paper, but if we go back a few centuries, its presence was significantly less noticeable.
The paper industry in India has evolved to a great extent over the years. It is one of the vast industries comprising of more than 760 pulp and paper mills providing employment to more than 1 million people directly & indirectly. India is one of the largest markets for paper globally and the country presents an exciting scenario when it comes to production of paper. The consumption of paper in India is poised for a big leap forward in sync with economic growth.
In India, the All India Village Industries Association was formed under the guidance of Mahatma Gandhi. As remarked by Mahatma Gandhi “Villages are the hearts of India” and if the villages perish, our nation will perish too. With this, the handmade paper industry which is purely a small scale village-based industry gained momentum and now plays a significant role in our nation’s economy. However, this flourishing craft had a tough time and almost received a death-blow during the British Rule in India because of the import of mill papers. The most astonishing fact about this craft is that in the Indian sub-continent, the handmade paper craft survived only in India. With an initiative taken by Mahatma Gandhi to protect the traditional Kagzis, the efforts were put to revive this craft in 1935. Efforts were also put to make improvements in the equipment and production techniques of the paper and increase the employment opportunity for the people.

➢ History of Handmade Paper

Talking about the handmade paper, it comes with a long intriguing history that can be traced back to 105 A.D when China first developed the technique of paper making. During the reign of the Han Dynasty in China, Cai Lun invented paper by pounding bamboo, rags, hemp, mulberry tree bark, and fishing nets together, making pulp and spreading it flat to get paper. Lun used various types of flora like the bark of trees, fibers of wines to make soft, flexible, shiny and smooth paper and that was how the paper was developed. From the early papyrus used for writing in Egypt to the famed paper produced out of the Hollander Loader, the handmade paper has been doing rounds for thousands of years.
The handmade paper is a single layer of entwined fibers that are held together by the cellulose. The availability of raw materials required for this industry is very high, as it makes use of the waste products; so this is the only industry that sets a beautiful example of waste to wonder. The real beauty of this paper lies in its rich texture, luster, composition, and making. The handmade paper making offers an immense creative possibility to delve into a variety of easily accessible fibers that can be added while producing the paper. Every piece of handmade paper that is made holds a special place and it’s unique to its maker as natural and original petals can be added only while producing the paper by hand.

➢ KVIC’s Role in Reviving Handmade Paper Industry

After independence, the systematic development of the handmade paper industry (HMPI) was taken up at the government level and was included in the schedule of village industries under the Khadi & Village Industries Act, 1956. Since then the HPI has made a substantial contribution in generating employment to more than 10,000 people, especially the uneducated and subsidiary income people in the rural areas.
Khadi & Village Industries Commission after its establishment had taken over the responsibility of reviving the Village Industries including Handmade & Fibre Industry by way of financing, imparting technical know-how and lending marketing assistance.
With an aim to reduce the amount of paper waste that is produced by the offices, Khadi and Village Industries Commission has created the Khadi handmade paper. With this project, Khadi aims to minimize the need for machine-made paper, which reduces the possibility of deforestation.
To give a boost to the handmade paper industry and encourage people to go-green and use this eco-friendly form of paper, KVIC has been actively participating and showcasing its variety of handmade papers and its products in different international and domestic trade fairs and exhibitions. Having an exhibit presence at a trade show can provide the business with great opportunities to branch out business-to-business trading and create a huge customer database. KVIC is leaving no stone unturned to help benefit the HMPI industry and the rural workers involved in the production of the paper.

➢ Importance of Handmade Paper

To make a difference and save the environment and the planet, reducing the “carbon footprint”, is the only way to go. As per the statistics, for the manufacturing of one ton of paper or paperboard the paper mills require 2.5 – 3 tons of dry forest based materials and owing to heavy felling of trees, the forest wealth is getting depleted and causing the ecological imbalance.
Here’s why replacing the conventional paper with the handmade paper is required:

1. It is Recycled
The Handmade Paper Industry is one of the ancient crafts of India. While the handmade paper used in the other parts is made of bamboo eucalyptus and other forest based woody fibers as raw material, Khadi & Village Industries handmade paper is made out of 100% cotton rag, non-woody raw materials such as hosiery cuttings, jute waste, grass, agro-waste like rice straw, banana fiber, etc. Each fiber has its own physical properties and lends its own peculiar characteristic in making the handmade paper.
Thus, handmade paper is not only saving trees and preserving the environment but also recycling the waste into wonderful possibilities.

2. Up-Cycled
The handmade paper is not only recycled, but it is also upcycled. Many discarded fibers from cotton to banana are used in the making of handmade paper. Usually, these waste materials add to the ever-growing mounds of the waste problem. But the upcycling method manages the problem well. Separating and streamlining the fiber requires the labor force, so this is also a great way of employment for the rural people.

3. Environment-friendly
As it is made out of recycled and upcycled materials, no trees need to be harvested to create a handmade paper which makes it the most environment-friendly form of paper in the world. Another reason why the handmade paper is environment-friendly is the manufacturing and drying process of handmade paper use extensive solar energy, which again is a pollution-free method. In other words, it is the paper of the future.

4. Involves a pollution-free method
During the manufacturing of machine-made paper, the chemicals are used in a large number to render the paper to give it a smooth texture and color. In contrast, handmade paper making doesn’t require any toxic chemicals. The handmade paper seems to be a gift to nature as it makes use of the pollution-free method. Therefore, handmade paper not only reduces pollution but also saves natural resources and contributes towards a sustainable ecosystem.

5. Rare and beautiful products
The beauty and strength of handmade paper provide a great avenue to explore creativity. Handmade paper can be used to make a variety of products such as lanterns, photo frames, envelopes, bags, diaries, gift boxes, home décor, and much more.

➢ Potential & Characteristice

The handmade paper manufacturing units are essentially defined by the fact that their production is taken out manually. The production is done using the pulped pure cellulosic material or the raw material. The method used in the production of the handmade paper follows a mechanical pulping method rather than the chemical method used in making machine-made paper.
The handmade paper industry exclusively uses non-forest material which majorly includes cellulose-rich raw material like waste paper and cotton rags. The production of the handmade paper also offers possibilities for in-plant recycling and the industries with intensive use of paper, the waste emanated from such industries can be easily recycled.

With its high-potential, the handmade paper comes with some unique characteristics:

i) The handmade paper has an exquisite surface, which enhances the beauty of the paper and gives it a distinctive look.

ii) Aside from being eco-friendly, the handmade paper also boasts of its quality. These papers are more tensile as compared to conventional papers and are not easy to tear because of its double-fold strength.

iii) The paper is indestructible and has a strength for permanence.

iv) The paper is long-lasting and does not brittle on aging.

v) It involves a pollution-free method, as it uses solar energy extensively.



Every setup calls for a good infrastructure facility and when it comes to setting up a good and agreed handmade paper unit infrastructure facilities like soft water availability, 3 phase electric power supply, and workshop are required. The HMP industry is majorly a labour intensive industry which means availability of labour at moderate wages is one of the major needs of this industry. Depending on the skills and capability of the workers, the industry pays wages ranging from Rs.60 to Rs.150 per day. The HMP employs women workers to the extent of 40 percent of the total workforce.


1. Handmade paper unit (hand lifting)
2. Cylinder Mould Handmade paper unit
3. Paper Conversion units
   a. Exercise note book unit
   b. File cover/Board making units
   c. Envelop making unit
   d. Paper bags/letter heads/greeting visiting cards etc.

The Handmade Paper industry attracts the provision of the Factory Act and other labour laws and under this act, it can also sustain payment of the fringe benefit to the workers.

➢ Raw Material for the Production

The production of handmade paper requires different types of raw material which is mostly agro-waste and textile waste which can’t be used for any other common purpose. The raw material that is required for the production process includes:
  • Cotton rags
  • Sabai grass
  • Sun hemp
  • Banana fibre
  • Sisal fibre
  • Straw
  • Tailoring
  • Other cellulosic fibers

➢ Production Process

The process involved in the production of Handmade Paper is given below in detail:

i) Sorting and Dusting
The HMP units follow a sorting box method for sorting the raw materials which are then used in the production process. The dusting method is a method of sorting by hand to remove the unnecessary materials mixed in the raw material.

ii) Cutting
The process is also known as rag chopping where the chopper is used to cut or reduce the length of the raw material. The raw materials which are chopped into smaller pieces are suitable to use for making pulp, otherwise, the pulping process takes time and it will also not give the desired quality of pulp. During the cutting process, the cotton rags are put through a mechanized rag chopper which cuts the rags into small and uniform pieces. Usually, each handmade paper unit has one chopper machine for the cutting process.

iii) Soaking
The main purpose of soaking the raw materials is to remove the specs of dust particles and to soften the material. The process of soaking also helps in cleaning and reducing the hardness of the fiber.

iv) Pulp Making & Sizing
Now, this is one of the important processes in the production of handmade paper. The process requires a beater machine to convert the raw materials into pulp. During the process of pulp making, the raw material is converted into a stock i.e., semi-finished pulp in its initial stage. This process is continued till the semi-finished pulp is converted into a fine quality pulp. While producing the colored or different textured handmade papers, the color dyes and textured materials like jute, fibers, grass, straw, etc., are also added.

v) Lifting
The lifting process t is a modern method, which requires dip vats and employs the use of a steel water tank fitted with an apparatus to lift the Mould. The Mould is then clamped between the two wooden frames in a water tank. Then depending upon the thickness of the paper a measured quantity of pulp is poured into the Mould, which is then shaken side to side horizontally to ensure cross linking of the fibers. The sheet of pulp is formed over the Mould, which is taken out after removing the frame.

vi) Pressing
Once the lifting of the wet sheet is done, it is taken for the pressing process where a manual press squeezes the excess water from the sheet and compresses the pulp while adding strength to the fibre. This process removes approx. 50 percent of water from the wet sheets. If the excess water is not removed the paper produced will not be suitable for the calendaring process.

vii) Drying
Next step in the process involves the drying method, where the pressed sheets are separated from the couching cloth and kept for drying indoors or in the drying chambers which has two sheds with an asbestos roof. The colored sheets are usually kept for drying in the shade to obtain a uniform color on both sides. Once the drying process is over, the sheets are sent for the calendaring process.

vi) Calendaring
The calendaring method is used to make the surface of the paper even and uniform. During this process, each sheet is placed between metallic plates and passed through spring loaded rollers in the calendaring machine. When the sheet passes through the roller, due to its heavy pressure it smoothens the paper and makes it uniform.

vii) Cutting and Packing
Cutting is the final stage of the handmade paper production process. After the calendaring process, the paper still has a deckle edge, which is then cut into the standard size of 22” x 30” or 56” x 76” by using a cutting machine. However, if the buyer specifies the measurements in the order, the unit will supply the required size.

➢ Product Range

The HMP units of Khadi & Village Industries manufacture and export an exquisite range of eco-friendly and unique handmade paper products. Our product range consists of a wide variety of handmade drawing sheets, card sheets, silken paper, bond paper, marble paper and other scores of varieties. Besides this, KVIC also manufactures watermark paper, file cover paper, insulation paper, industrial filter paper, etc. which is majorly used by the institutions or government sectors. Each product produced in the HMP units of KVIC comes with an exclusive mark of the finesse of our makers working in the handmade paper units and each article is unique to its maker.


Although there are many Handmade Paper manufacturing units all over the country, due to lack of training and other expertise many manufacturing units based in the rural areas face challenges when it comes to meet the export demand. To overcome that challenge the following institutes are imparting training in handmade paper making technology:

➢ Training Institutes

1. Kumarappa National Handmade Paper Institute, Sanganer, Jaipur

The Institute was established at Sanganer, Jaipur Rajasthan with the technical support from UNDP and KVIC for strengthening the Handmade Paper Industry in India.
It is registered under the Registrar of Societies act in 1997. The institute imparts training as per the needs under the handmade paper industry.
The project is well equipped with the infrastructural facilities for Research and Development work, training and Pilot plant for product development. It extends consultancy services to the needy entrepreneurs for setting up of Handmade Paper units.
The Institution has been registered as an independent directly aided Institution on 18.08.97. The chairman, KVIC is the President and Chief executive Officer, KVIC is the Vice- President.
The KNHPI Jaipur is imparting training, extending the testing facility to the HMPFI units, R & D activities, and technology dissemination work. The Institute doing research programs on new technologies regularly under the S&T Programme of KVIC.
The institute provides various long as well as short-term Training Programmes.

2. Handmade Paper Institute, K.B. Joshi Roapioneerd, Shivajinagar, Pune:

A pioneer Institute for Handmade paper Training under Maharashtra Khadi & V.I. Board under the Directorate of CB, inaugurated by Nehru in 1940 to fulfill Mahatma Gandhi's dream of setting up a handmade paper unit to train people and produce a variety of paper that would compete with machine-made paper. It has a production centre too to acquaint the trainees with commercial production.
This institute provides a managerial training Programme under the stipendiary category to train the candidates from all the states for working as Technical Managers and also to maintain quality control, etc. This training Programme covers all the important aspects of the handmade paper industry in detail and the institute is equipped with all the required infrastructural facilities required for the Programme including the Managerial training like a research laboratory, product development, extension, hostel facilities, library, etc. The Khadi & Village Industries Commission provides financial assistance for imparting the training Programme under HMPI. The unit is working under Maharashtra State Khadi & Village Industries Board, Mumbai.
The training is imparted in this Institute is mainly Managers Course in Handmade Paper Industry of one year duration since 1956 and also training in Paper conversion.

3. Dr. B.R.Ambedkar Institute of Rural Technology and Management, Nasik

AIRTM, Nasik is a departmental training center.
Paper Conversion Course, Screen Printing & Fancy Fiber Artisan Course are being organized in Centre.

➢ List of Training Programmes


➢ Procedure for setting up of Unit

The following steps will be required to establishing the handmade paper units in a minimum gestation period.

i. The implementing agency needs to prepare a detailed project report mentioning the type of plant they require, with the help of professional consultants such as Chartered Accountant and others. The report then is furnished to their bankers/KVIC for the consideration purpose.

ii. After getting the consent from the bank for funding the agency may approach state KVIB or state office KVIC for availing the margin amount mentioned as per the rules.

iii. Before starting the construction of the unit, the supply of water needs to be ensured by digging a bore-well. For this, a letter of consent will be required from the Electricity Board for power supply.

iv. Provisional permission from the Regional Water Pollution Control Board will be required to test the effluent of the unit.

v. To run the unit and manufacturing handmade paper, a few workers will be deputed for /artisans training before starting the production activities.

➢ Recognition of Handmade Paper Unit

To set up a HMP unit, Khadi and Village Industries Commission issues a Recognition Certificate, which certifies that the HMP unit is producing genuine handmade paper and as per the pattern that has been approved. This certificate lets the manufacturing units enjoy exemption in excise duties, as per the Central Excise tariff, chapter 48 and article 4802-20. The Recognition Certificate is issued under the following criteria:

• The handmade paper principle process of lifting the pulp while manufacturing the paper and paperboard shall be done manually.

• While using the power driven forming machine, the sheet lifting shall be done by hand and the face length is restricted up-to 40” only.

• Once the Recognition certificate is issued, no customs duty is applicable on the handmade paper unit and its products. The Directorate of HMPI issues the recognition certificate to genuine manufacturing units as per the KVIC guidelines in conformity with Central Excise Tariff of India, Chapter 48.

• The State Directors/Regional Directors of KVIC have vested the powers for issuing the Recognition Certificate to handmade paper units. All the manufacturing units located in rural areas, KVIC assisted units, REGP units and the units financed by other financial agencies are also eligible for obtaining a Recognition Certificate.


Handmade paper is one of the important activities which creates employment for unskilled and semi-skilled people which provides them with a regular source of income, based on their technical know-how and ability. It also helps develop entrepreneurship among youth, helps to recycle the waste and produce biodegradable products. Being an eco-friendly product, the handmade paper has been in demand not just in the Indian market but also in the international markets. The HMP sector has developed as an industry and the MSME department has been promoting this industry through Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC). With an increase in its demand, this industry has also started generating more employment opportunities. Because of the easy process of making handmade paper, this industry is flourishing well in many states of the country as well.
Handmade paper production does not require a large scale of capital investment. The intensity of capital increases as the scale of production increases. The biggest advantage handmade paper has is the unit requires only one-tenth of the capital required in a large-scale unit for employment generation.
Every handmade paper article that we buy, comes with a story. The KVIC handmade paper is made by the tribal women using their traditional motifs. So, every single purchase contributes to the sustainable livelihood of many artisans.

➢ List of Manufacturing Units

➢ Market Potential of Handmade Paper

Paper is a vehicle on which our modern civilization moves. With the growing demand for environment-friendly products, the handmade paper industry is experiencing significant growth in the market. The handmade paper (HMP) industry has a diversified range of products to cater to the needs of not only domestic but of the international arena as well. Due to increased literacy, industrialization and modernization, the per capita consumption of handmade paper has increased remarkably. Some of the products of this industry have a huge demand in the market like carrying bags, stationery items, photo frames, drawing papers, decorative items, etc. The major consumers of handmade paper are Government departments, Public Sector Undertakings, Hotel Industry, Printing Press, Export Agencies, etc. and the industry is in a position to supply its product to all at a competitive rate. The industry also produces products like watermark papers which is used for degrees and share certificate, bond paper for letterheads and envelope. All the items are ideal to be produced in tiny hand paper units. The HMP industry provides employment to nearly 10,000 people, who are majorly situated in rural areas.

➢ International Market

The handmade paper industry is one of the most export-oriented sectors of India. Crowned with the title of “eco-friendly paper” and its global environmental awareness, the demand for handmade paper is increasing tremendously. Maintaining the ecological balance of nature is the need of the day and eco-friendly products are one of the best ways to do it. A Unit manufacturing paper from cotton and other waste involves strict recycling process. The HMP industry is one such sector which strictly follows eco-friendly industry processes, keeping the environment pollution free. With all these plus points, the handmade manufacturing units are also an important aspect for the employment to the rural people. It is estimated that directly or indirectly the unit employs about 50 – 60 workers and plays an integral role in the eco-operation in solving the nation’s problem and also providing a platform for the entrepreneurs to earn foreign exchange by exporting the eco-friendly paper. KVIC is exporting its handmade paper, directly, through its various manufacturing units as well as merchant exporters. At present, the major buyer countries are: USA, Germany, UK, Italy, France, Sweden, Australia, Singapore, Holland, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, Gulf countries and many more.

➢ Marketing Activities

Trade Fairs

The share of Indian handmade paper in the international arena has increased significantly and the reason behind this is the active participation of Directorate of HMPFI in the International Trade Fairs like Paperex at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. Participating in the exhibitions helps the handmade paper units to become Export oriented. Many units under KVIC have participated in International Trade Fairs and exhibitions in India and in countries like Germany, Chile, UK, Switzerland, Peru, etc. The objective of participating in different exhibitions and workshops is to create awareness about this eco-friendly paper which has a mammoth potentiality in both the domestic and export market.

Organization of Product Specific Exhibitions:

The Directorate of Handmade Paper & Fiber Industry organizes the product specific (Handmade Paper and Paper Products) exhibition in all Metros and the selected cities including the North-Eastern region. The Directorate has also been participating in regularly featured exhibitions like PAPEREX at Delhi and Giftex at Mumbai. In every exhibition, around 30 to 40 handmade paper and fibre manufacturing units participate and showcase their products to the national and international markets. The response received in all these Buyers Sellers meets cum Exhibition has been excellent.

Handmade Paper Sales Center, Vile Parle, Mumbai

It is a departmental trading center of the Directorate of HMPFI, which provides marketing facilities to recognized handmade paper units for the marketing purpose. This unit also caters to the need of Export houses and has a wide range of handmade paper and its products at reasonable rates.

SR. No.




Schools, Colleges, Universities and other educational institutions

Degree and Certificate papers with or without water marks, high strength envelops paper pockets, progress report cards,  Herbarium sheets for botany department, high strength paper cover papers


Technical institutions, Art Museums and other higher level technical institutions

Drawing papers, Diploma and certificate papers, Designing charts


Central and State Govt. Organization Public Sector Undertakings, Banks, Railways, etc.

File Covers, file boards, envelops, packets, letter head papers, visiting card papers, Ledger Paper, book covers ledger paper, book covers, wrapping papers etc. Seed packing paper for State seed and Central Seed Development Corporations


Distilleries, pharmaceuticals, Chemical and Electrical industries

Filter papers, filter pads, Electrical insulation papers, electrical insulation press boards


Departmental Stores and Stationery dealers

Drawing papers and pads, color cards, converted items like drawing pads, letter heads, Visiting cards etc


Designers and interior decorators, civil contractors, shoe makers

High quality white boards for designers, moon rock and other specialty finish papers for interior decoration, high strength stiff board for shoe makers, banana stem boards for supporting of civil works by civil contractors. Partisan wall boards false sealing boards acoustic boards


Insurance firms, Banks, Industrial houses and agricultural departments

Paper for Insurance policies,  Durable and high strength paper for Long term deposits


State and Central Archival Departments and Museums

Tissue papers made from banana fibers which are transparent and long lasting for lamination of old and fragile documents by Archival departments and Museums

"MAN KI BAAT" Honorable Prime Minister of India.

Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 20th Episode of Maan Ki Baat 2.0 commended paper making technique called ‘Mon Shugu’. The Prime Minister chooses to talk about the art in Maan Ki Baat after he knew that the local social worker Maling Gombu not only rejuvenated this art but also gave employment to tribal brothers and sisters in Arunachal Pradesh. The art attracted the Prime Minister with its dual benefits that comprises its uniqueness in helping while protection of environment as well as opening new avenues of income for people residing in north-eastern States of Tawang town.

During Maan Ki Baat he states that how we can open up new avenue of income while protecting environment. There is a thousand year old traditional handmade paper of Arunachal Pradesh-used in Buddhist monasteries called Mon Shugu. It was produced by local people of Tawang district of Arunacha Pradesh. In this technique bark of tree called Shugu Sheng is used as raw material instead of tree makes it eco-friendly. Also no chemical is used in production of Mon Shugu paper make it safe for environment as well as for health. There was a time when this paper was exported but with bulk production of paper due to modern technology it is on the verge of extinction.




For further details regarding guideline or any kind of query, you may contact Directorate of HMPFI on contact details given below :-

Khadi & V.I. Commission
3, Irla Road, Vile Parle (W)
Mumbai - 400 056
Phone No: 022-26710526
email :