Vishwakarmas backbones of society: PM Modi unveils ambitious support plan for hand-tool workers : The Tribune India

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Vishwakarmas backbones of society: PM Modi unveils ambitious support plan for hand-tool workers

Will be provided loan assistance at a minimal interest rate without the need for collateral

Vishwakarmas backbones of society: PM Modi unveils ambitious support plan for hand-tool workers

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday launched the ‘PM Vishwakarma’ scheme. Video Grab



Tribune News Service

Aditi Tandon

New Delhi, September 17

On the occasion of his 73rd birthday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday launched an ambitious support scheme for hand and tool artists describing them as the "backbone of society."

Addressing a mammoth gathering of Vishwakarmas (the traditional description for crafts persons who work with hands and tools) at the newly built International Convention and Exhibition Centre Yashobhoomi in Dwarka, the prime minister said his government was committed to giving priority to the deprived.

"Modi is here as a servant of the marginalised for whom no one else ever spared a thought," the prime minister said, noting that Yashobhhomi, the world class convention centre, would serve to make Indian local arts global and link Indian artisans to the world supply chains. Modi earlier inaugurated phase 1 of Yashobhoomi, the second majestic exhibition hall after Delhi's Bharat Mandapam which hosted the G20 leaders recently.

The PM dwelt at length on the nuances of the Vishwakarma scheme which will cater to OBCs, SCs and STs, who are primarily engaged in traditional rural trades.

Modi said the scheme, on which the government will initially spend Rs 13000 crore, will cover 18 crafts."Modi will take your guarantee," the PM said at the event telling the crafts persons that the new scheme will entitle them to Rs 1 lakh guarantee free loan in the first tranche, and Rs 2 lakh in the second tranche once they have repaid the first loan.

"We are going to prepare you for the world, link you to global supply chains. We want to create capacities whereby global firms stand at your doors. This scheme is an attempt to take Vishwakarmas towards modern tools and training. The government will train you. Every day a stipend of Rs 500 will be given to those who train. A Rs 15,000 toolkit voucher will also be given. The only condition is you should buy your toolkits only from GST registered shops. Black marketing will not do," the PM said after handing over Vishwakarma certificates to select artisans including Ahmed Bhat, a second generation tailor from J&K, who masters the art of sewing the pheran, Valley's traditional dress.

Earlier in his address, the PM termed Vishwakarmas the "backbone of society."

"Vishwakarmas are to society what a backbone is to a human body. They are the foundations of national progress...The need of the hour is to acknowledge and empower them," the PM said, urging Indians to buy local and calling upon Indian artisans to create hand made artefacts as the global market for made made products expands.

The scheme, coming in election year, could yield political benefits to the BJP which has been expanding its outreach to the deprived sections through government schemes on potable water,housing, gas connections and health cards.

Majority of Vishwakarmas are from the OBCs segment which makes up 54% of India's population. Even within the OBCs, a principal Vishwakarma segment is of Pasmanda Muslims, a neglected community which forms 85% of the Indian Muslim population. Modi has been wooing the Pasmandas routinely.

The scheme will cover 18 crafts: (i) Carpenter; (ii) Boat Maker; (iii) Armourer; (iv) Blacksmith ; (v) Hammer and Tool Kit Maker; (vi) Locksmith; (vii) Goldsmith; (viii) Potter; (ix) Sculptor, Stone breaker; (x) Cobbler (Shoesmith/ Footwear artisan); (xi) Mason (Rajmistri); (xii) Basket/Mat/Broom Maker/Coir Weaver; (xiii) Doll & Toy Maker (Traditional); (xiv) Barber; (xv) Garland maker; (xvi) Washerman; (xvii) Tailor; and (xviii) Fishing Net Maker.

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