New Delhi, Oct 21 (PTI) Appreciating the carpet makers' skills that turned the "Made in India" logo into a big brand worldwide, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Sunday that handicrafts were a source of inspiration during the freedom struggle too.

Addressing the India Carpet Expo at Varanasi via video conference, Modi said it is for the first time that the expo is being organised at the Deendayal Hastkala Sankul in Varanasi, a PMO statement said.

He mentioned Varanasi, Bhadohi and Mirzapur as important centres of the carpet industry, while dwelling upon the government's efforts to encourage handicrafts and small and medium industries.

He said India has a long tradition of handicrafts, and Varanasi has played a key role in this regard. On the occasion, he remembered the great saint poet, Kabir, who himself was a weaver and belonged to the same region.

The PM said handicrafts were a source of inspiration and self-reliance during the freedom struggle. In this context, he mentioned Mahatma Gandhi's 'satyagraha' and 'charkha'.

Modi said India is the biggest producer of carpets today with about 35 per cent of the global market share.

The prime minister spoke of the impressive export performance of the carpet industry sector.

He said the rising middle classes and the support provided to the carpet industry are the two key factors behind the growth of this sector.

Modi appreciated the skills of the carpet makers which turned the "Made in India carpet" a big brand.

He spoke of the government's logistic support to the carpet exporters and in creation of world class laboratories to ensure its quality. He also spoke of other measures, including provision of credit facilities to set up modern looms.

Modi said the Union Government is committed to ensuring the skill and hard work of the carpet makers becomes one of the strengths of the nation.

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