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LG pledges capacity building, better infrastructure, easy access to credit & markets to artisans

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Says steps being taken to make handicraft sector more competitive, boost exports and give fillip to village industries

Budgam: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha Saturday pledged better infrastructure and easy access to credit and markets to artisans of Kashmir handicrafts for making the sector more competitive, boost exports and give fillip to village industries.

After inaugurating the Sukhnag Sozni Embroidery SFURTI Heritage Cluster of J&K Khadi and Village Industries Board today at Magam, Budgam, the LG, according to an official press release, said SFURTI Cluster will deliver a holistic approach towards development of Sozni craft from production to marketing stage while catering needs of at least 500 artisans.

“The government has taken various steps to make the handicraft sector more competitive, boost exports and give a fillip to village industries, a repository of creative tradition. We are determined to ensure capacity building, foster innovation, best in class infrastructure, easy access to credit and market,” the LG said.

“We have implemented policies to ensure that the artisans get an opportunity to showcase their products at national and international expo and receive better prices for their products,” he added.

Sinha also observed that the ‘Vocal for Local’ initiative has exposed J&K’s cultural and artistic heritage to the world.

“Handicraft sector faced many challenges due to Covid but it certainly has the potential to take UT’s economic growth to a higher trajectory and to provide employment to a large pool of our youth,” he said.

The LG emphasized that the creativity of all the craft-artists will be more productive in future with the government’s focused investment in skill development, modern technology, and innovative business practices which will directly contribute to the increased earnings of craftsmen.

Highlighting the role of artisans who represent the rich traditions, customs and cultures, the LG made a special mention of Bashir Ahmed Bhat, an award winning artisan from Beerwah, who had been doing notable Sozni embroidery work.

On the occasion, the LG also awarded certificates to artisans and entrepreneurs for their outstanding performance under the Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Program (PMEGP).

The LG said that under the PMEGP scheme, Khadi Village Industries Board’s achievement last year was five times more than the target. Financial support was extended to 5,851 units against the target of 1,008 units and more than 47,000 people were directly provided with employment, he said.

“In all the schemes of the handicrafts sector, we have tried to directly facilitate and provide hand-holding to women and marginalized families. Out of the 12,000 units that have been installed in the last two years, 4,000 units are being run by women and 1,000 units belong to marginalized sections,” he added.

In Jammu and Kashmir, the clusters being created under the Scheme of Funds for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI) will focus on maximum participation of women. Around Rs 24 crore is being spent in setting up all these clusters which will help in better production and marketing of rural products, the press release said.

On the occasion, the LG assured all possible support in the form of financial assistance, skill development, capacity building, etc. to the youth who are inclined to start any entrepreneurial activity related to the handicrafts sector.

The LG observed that the Industries department has also started the Export Incentive Scheme in which an incentive of 10 percent is being given on the total volume of GI-certified products in order to promote the export of handicraft products.

The LG also mentioned the QR code launched for the world famous carpets of Kashmir, besides several important steps taken for GI certification, testing, labeling and training to promote Kashmiri carpets. A project on innovative and economical packaging of handicraft products has also been completed in association with NIFT Srinagar to expand the reach of niche handicraft products.

The LG asked the concerned departments to continuously review all the schemes launched for the benefit of weavers and handicrafts. The Khadi and Village Industries and Handicrafts Department will work together on innovative marketing strategies to ensure better prices for J&K crafts, he added.

The LG reiterated administration’s resolve to provide facilities like better market linkages for handicraft products, maximum employment opportunities, door-step financial assistance, design support, skill development, capacity building of clusters without any hassle.

He urged that the people must work for peace which is imperative for development.

“The society should not get trapped into the nefarious conspiracy of the enemies and their handlers. All they intend is to push J&K back into the dark phase of violence,” he further added.

On being apprised about the issue of promoting home-stays in Budgam, the LG said that issue would be taken up with the concerned quarters for appropriate action.

The LG also visited handloom stalls at Kanihama village and interacted with artisans.

Nazir Ahmad Khan, DDC Chairman Budgam, expressed gratitude to the LG-led UT government for taking dedicated measures for the welfare of the people, the press release said.

Dr Arun Kumar Mehta, Chief Secretary, said that the people of J&K are witnessing the positive change happening in every sector and congratulated the KVIB for making headway in the promotion of traditional arts & crafts.

The Chief Secretary also reiterated the government’s commitment to double the income of artisans and craftsmen in future, besides providing necessary handholding to the budding entrepreneurs.  He further articulated that KVIB should give all the support to the artisans to showcase their products to wider consumers.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Hina Shafi Bhat, Vice-Chairperson, J&K KVIB said that the establishment of the Sozni Cluster is one among many steps the board is taking for the promotion of arts and crafts. She further said that the traditional art & craft clusters like Sozni would be established throughout J&K to provide sustained employment for artisans and rural entrepreneurs.

Highlighting the achievements made under the Prime Minister Employment Generation Programme, she informed that in the last three years, 35,185 units were established under PMEGP.  Rs 747 cr subsidy and Rs 2200 cr bank loan has been released, besides 2,80,000 livelihood opportunities were generated from these units.

Vivek Bhardwaj, Financial Commissioner (Additional Chief Secretary) Finance Department, while speaking on the occasion, highlighted the initiatives taken by the government for the welfare of artisans and craftsmen.

He said that the main aim of the newly established facility is to boost the local traditional industries activity.

HoDs of various departments; PRI members; prominent citizens from all walks of life, besides artisans, craftsmen and entrepreneurs were present on the occasion in large numbers.


Govt industrial policy hinges on facilitating local industries and generating employment: LG

Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha Saturday met Industry leaders and representatives of various Industries associations from across Jammu & Kashmir and discussed with them measures for enhancing ease of doing business and support to local industries, an official press release said.

“Certain measures of business revival package-2020, yet to be saturated across industries will be implemented within a time-frame to cushion the shock of pandemic,” the LG said in the meeting.

He said “it has been the constant endeavour of the government to boost the investment climate, fulfill Prime Minister’s vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat, and we have undertaken multiple key initiatives to establish a transparent system to attract capital and harness local entrepreneurial potential.”

“Development and blossoming of businesses is possible only in peace. Those trying to disrupt the peaceful atmosphere are the biggest enemies of industrial and socio-economic growth of J&K,” the LG said.

“At the core of the government’s industrial policy is providing opportunities and assistance to local industries, economic growth and generating employment for our youth,” he added.

“The government is sensitive to the issues of the Industries and Business sector and committed to provide all assistance. A committee comprising the Industries & Commerce department and entrepreneurs is being constituted as an institutionalized mechanism to hold regular interactions with the Industry representatives, Chambers of both the divisions to resolve the issues and challenges confronting the businesses,” the LG said.

He also highlighted the technological interventions and online services introduced for extending completely transparent and hassle-free government services to the business and industry sector.

The LG further informed that the administration is working out a policy for separate industrial estate for start-ups.

A similar interaction will be held in Jammu with representatives of Chamber and Industries soon, the press release said.

It said many representatives of the Chamber and Industries Association from the Jammu region were unable to attend today’s meeting due to the closure of the Jammu-Srinagar highway.

During the interaction, the representatives of various associations including FCIK, KCCI, PHDCCI, KPO, TAHAFUZ, KCC, Confederation of Indian Industry, Hydel Power Association, Kathua Industrial Association, Industrial Estates etc projected their issues and concerns and sought LG’s intervention for their early redressal, the press release said.

Dr Arun Kumar Mehta, Chief Secretary; Vivek Bhardwaj, Financial Commissioner (Additional Chief Secretary) Finance Department; Pandurang K Pole, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir; Anoo Malhotra, Director, I&C, Jammu; Mahmood Ahmad Shah, Director, I&C Kashmir, besides concerned HoDs and senior officers were present during the interaction here at SKICC.


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