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Business News/ News / India/  Empowering artisans for robust growth

The Prime Minister Vishwakarma Yojana, which was launched on Sunday to strengthen traditional artisans and craftspeople, will not only have an affirmative impact on the lives of millions of Indians, but also contribute enormously to economic growth.

The 13,000 crore allocation made to the scheme is a recognition of the immense contribution of our traditional and skilled artisans and craftsmen toward nation-building, and the economic potential of this sector.

The Vishwakarma Yojana aims to empower our craftsmen by improving the quality and reach of their products and services. It will also revive their skills, not just to conserve India’s rich cultural heritage, but also to provide them with a dignified source of livelihood.

The scheme will provide a conducive environment for artisans and craftspeople working with their hands and tools to enable them to deliver better, facilitate access to modern tools, technology and markets, and onboard them into the fast-evolving world of digitalization.

Access to credit has been challenging for this sector, and we acknowledged that higher skill levels require more sophisticated tools and technology. The scheme provides e-vouchers that can be redeemed to acquire better toolkits besides providing skill assessment and skill training. Further, credit available at concessional rates of interest is linked to the level of skill training undergone. For example, to be eligible for a loan up to 1 lakh, the beneficiary will have to undergo skill training of 5 to 7 days. Similarly, advanced skill training of 15 days will make the beneficiary eligible for a loan of up to 2 lakh. The loans are entirely collateral-free and will be available at 5% interest rate.

To ensure that PM Vishwakarma achieves its objectives smoothly, the ministry of MSME, ministry of skill development & entrepreneurship, and department of financial services have converged together as co-implementers of the scheme. Another unique aspect is the active role of state governments in the verification of the prospective beneficiary and in the implementation and monitoring of the scheme which covers 18 traditional trades.

The world is moving towards digital platforms, which transcend physical barriers. We realized this even more so during the pandemic. Accordingly, the scheme encourages beneficiaries to adopt digital transactions. Beneficiaries of this scheme will be given cashback incentives every time they transact to sell or receive digital remuneration. To ensure effective integration of the artisans and craftspeople of the country into supply chains, the scheme provides comprehensive marketing support, which spans from participation in exhibitions and trade fairs to accessing e-commerce platforms. Support in the form of branding, advertising, publicity and other marketing activities will be given to beneficiaries. Quality certification is a key aspect that the scheme focuses on.

Through the PM Vishwakarma Yojana, we hope that lakhs of artisans and craftspeople are able to establish their own enterprises and contribute positively to the nation’s economic growth.

Our plan to support the artisans and craftspeople goes well beyond the contours of the scheme. We will ensure necessary linkages with ongoing government schemes and programmes. Beneficiaries of PM Vishwakarma will be linked to the Udyam portal, in case they have PAN, or to the Udyam Assist Platform, in case they do not have PAN. Such linkage will help their loans to be categorized as priority sector lending from banks and also enable them to avail benefits as micro, small, and medium enterprises.

The scheme signifies a promising era where the rich tapestry of India’s cultural heritage is not only celebrated but uplifted and propelled into a prosperous future, symbolizing a harmonious blend of tradition and modernity.

Narayan Rane is Union Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and former Chief Minister of Maharashtra.

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Updated: 18 Sep 2023, 11:26 PM IST
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