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Special Content


Issue no 23 , 02 - 08 September 2023

 

PM Vishwakarma: Today's Artisans, Tomorrow's Entrepreneurs

EN Explain

 

The Union Cabinet has approved a new Central Sector Scheme 'PM Vishwakarma', with a financial outlay of Rs.13,000 crore for a period of five years (FY 2023-24 to FY 2027-28). The scheme aims to strengthen and nurture the Guru-Shishya parampara or family-based practice of traditional skills by artisans and craftspeople working with their hands and tools. The scheme also aims at improving the quality, as well as the reach of products and services of artisans and craftspeople and to ensure that the Vishwakarmas are integrated with the domestic and global value chains.

The Rationale Behind

Artisans play a significant role in small-scale production of local handicrafts and in maintaining their appeal to the public. They also make a significant contribution to the national economy by strengthening India's non-farm rural economy. However, being the part of an unorganised sector, the artisans often find it difficult to earn their livelihood. As a result, many people are giving up their ancestral and traditional occupations. Loss of markets, declining skills, and the artisans' difficulty to cater to new markets have resulted in decline in the number of artisans.

The Prime Minister, in a post-budget webinar on the subject of 'PM Vishwakarma Kaushal Samman' in March this year, had said, "We cannot leave this class to fend for itself. This is the class that has been preserving its craft for centuries by using traditional methods. This is the class, which is making a mark with its extraordinary skills and unique creations. These are symbols of the true spirit of self-reliant India."

Thus, to support and aid the "Vishwakarmas of New India", the Government has decided to launch the PM Vishwakarma Scheme, benefiting 30 lakh individuals skilled in traditional craftsmanship.

What are the benefits of the PM Vishwakarma Scheme?

The Union Budget 2023-24 had outlined the vision of Amrit Kaal which shall reflect an empowered and inclusive economy. In her Budget speech, Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, had announced a new scheme for the traditional artisans and craftspeople, generally referred to as 'Vishwakarma'. She had noted that the art and handicraft created by them represent the true spirit of Atmanirbhar Bharat.

For the first time, a package of assistance for artisans and craftspeople was conceptualised. And with the approval of the Union Cabinet, the scheme is now said to enable artisans and craftspeople to improve the quality, scale and reach of their products, integrating them with the MSME value chain.

The scheme will provide support to artisans and craftspeople of rural and urban areas across India. Under the scheme, artisans and craftspeople will be provided recognition through PM Vishwakarma certificate and ID card.

In order to support them financially, credit support will be extended in two tranches - up to Rs.1 lakh (first tranche) and Rs.2 lakhs (second tranche) with a concessional interest rate of 5%. This will help in countering the challenge of working capital that small artisans face when starting and/or expanding their business.

The scheme includes not only financial support but will also provide skill upgradation, toolkit incentive, incentive for digital transactions, and marketing support. Access to basic and advanced skill training, knowledge of modern digital techniques and efficient green technologies, brand promotion, linkage with local and global markets, digital payments, and social security will be provided. A stipend of Rs. 500 per day will also be provided to beneficiaries while undergoing skill training. They will also get a support of up to Rs. 15,000 to buy modern tools.

Under market support, there will be quality certification, branding, and online market access. The Government is also planning to integrate the scheme with initiatives like One District One Product, One Station One Product, Vocal for Local, Skill India, and Digital India. Incentive will be given for up to 1,200 digital transactions, similar to PM SVANidhi (PM Street Vendor's AtmaNirbhar Nidhi) scheme. The aim is to turn today's artisans into entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

Which traditional trades does the scheme cover?

Eighteen traditional trades will be covered under the PM Vishwakarma Scheme. These include - (i) Carpenter (Suthar); (ii) Boat Maker; (iii) Armourer; (iv) Blacksmith (Lohar); (v) Hammer and Tool Kit Maker; (vi) Locksmith; (vii) Goldsmith (Sonar); (viii) Potter (Kumhaar); (ix) Sculptor (Moortikar, stone carver), Stone breaker; (x) Cobbler (Charmkar)/Shoesmith/Footwear artisan; (xi) Mason (Rajmistri); (xii) Basket/Mat/Broom Maker/Coir Weaver; (xiii) Doll & Toy Maker (Traditional); (xiv) Barber (Naai); (xv) Garland Maker (Malakaar); (xvi) Washerman/washerwoman (Dhobi); (xvii) Tailor (Darzi); and (xviii) Fishing Net Maker.

Why was the scheme named Vishwakarma?

Lord Vishwakarma is considered to be the "controller and creator of the universe". He is believed to be the greatest craftsman and the idol of Vishwakarma has different tools in his hands. In India, there has been a rich tradition of those people who create something or the other with their own hands and that too with the help of tools. To respect this tradition and in the context of Indian ethos, the scheme was given the name 'PM Vishwakarma'.

Source: PIB/DD News