The push for high-tech manufacturing is evident in the ambitions of leaders like our Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Saudi Arab- ia’s Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said India’s traditional artisans represent the Atmanirbhar Bharat concept in true spirit and the Union Budget 2023-24 proposed the PM Vishwakarma Kaushal Samman Yojana to support their skills and help them adapt to requirements of present times.
The prime minister was addressing a post-Budget webinar on “PM Vishwakarma Kaushal Samman.”It was the last in the series of 12 post-Budget webinars organized by the government to seek ideas and suggestions for effectively implementing initiatives announced in the Budget.The Government started the exercise of post-Budget webinars three years ago, and they had yielded good results, Modi said.
He said the PM Vishwakarma Yojana has been conceived to provide institutional support to all artisans. Comparing them to Lord Vishwakarma, the creator of the universe, he said the artisans would be provided easy loans and technology to update their skills. A system would be created for their digital empowerment, brand promotion and facilities to ensure their products reach the market. They would be assured of raw materials. The objective of the new scheme is to protect their age-old skills and develop them further.
The skill infrastructure system would be restructured according to the needs of the artisans, he said. The prime minister said the Government is providing loans of crores of Rupees under the Mudra Yojana without bank guarantees and its coverage would be extended to the artisans. The Vishwakarmas of today would be provided digital literacy on priority, he said.
The prime minister said the Government wanted today’s artisans to become entrepreneurs tomorrow. For this, the Government is working on improving the quality of their products, while taking care of attractive designing, packaging and branding also. Demands of consumers, both domestic and international, would be kept in view.
Modi asked all stakeholders attending the webinar to hand-hold the artisans, keep them update in all respects and help them in advance their businesses. For this it was necessary for the stakeholders to get closer to the artisans, mingle with them and see how they can realise their ideas, he said.
He said carpenters, ironsmiths, sculptors, masons and many others have been an integral part of Indian society. This skilled workforce was neglected for a long time and even after India’s independence, he said, there was no intervention from the government to work for their betterment. As a result, many of them gave up their traditional skills and craftsmanship to look for living elsewhere.
The prime minister said the artisans can be helped by becoming part of value chains. Many of them can become suppliers and producers for the MSME units too. They can be provided tools and technology to become part of the nation’s economic system, the prime minister said. Industry can develop linkages with the artisans not just to boost their production, but also to train them and upgrade the quality of their products.
State governments can adjust their plans with the artisans, while banks can provide finance, he said. In this way, it can be a win-win situation for all. Corporate houses can get quality products at competitive prices. Banks will be investing in ventures which can be trusted upon. These cumulative efforts would ensure a wider impact of Government schemes, Modi said.
Even start-ups can help create a big market for the craft products through e-commerce, the prime minister said. The Vishwakarma Yojana can create partnerships between the artisans and the private sector, he said, and the artisans can benefit from the private sector’s innovative methods and business acumen.
The prime minister said the idea is to help people who live in far-flung areas and may be getting benefit of a Government scheme for the first time in their lives. There is therefore a need for the stakeholders to prepare definitive work plans after consultations. Most of the intended beneficiaries are poor, tribals, women and belong to marginalised sections of society.
The stakeholders should adopt practical and effective strategies to reach the artisans, involve them in the Vishwakarma Yojana so that they can be helped according to their needs, the prime minister said. The work approach should be time-bound and in Mission Mode, he stressed.