Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday underlined the need for working in a "time-bound mission mode" to help artisans and persons associated with small businesses become part of the value chain.
Addressing the 12th and the last post-budget webinar on 'PM Vishwakarma Kaushal Samman', the prime minister said that empowering every section of the village is essential for India's development journey.
"For this, we will have to work in a time-bound mission mode," he said, adding PM Vishwakarma Yojana is aimed at handholding of artisans and people associated with small businesses, besides preserving the nation's rich traditions.
The government, the prime minister said, will provide a holistic institutional support to every Vishwakarma (artisans) to ensure that they get access to easy loans, skilling, technical support, digital empowerment, brand promotion, marketing and raw material.
"The objective of the scheme is to develop traditional artisans and craftsmen while preserving their rich tradition," he said.
"Our aim is that Vishwakarmas of today can become entrepreneurs of tomorrow. For this, sustainability is essential in their business model," the prime minister said.
Modi said that artisans and craftsmen can be strengthened when they become part of the value chain and pointed out that many of them can become suppliers and producers for the MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) sector.
He said that the industry can increase production by linking these people with their needs where skill and quality training can be provided.
"This can be a win-win situation for every stakeholder. Corporate companies will get quality products at competitive prices. Banks' money will be invested in schemes which can be trusted. And this will show the widespread effect of the schemes of the government," the prime minister said.
He further said that startups can also create a huge market for craft products through the e-commerce model apart from helping them with better technology, design, packaging and financing.
The prime minister expressed confidence that the partnership with the private sector will be further strengthened through PM Vishwakarma scheme so that the innovation power and business acumen of the private sector can be maximised.
Asking all the stakeholders to prepare a robust blueprint for helping artisans and small businesses, he said the Centre on its part is trying to reach the people in remote parts of the country and many of them are getting the benefits of government schemes for the first time.
Most of the artisans are from dalit, adivasi, backward communities or are women and to reach and provide benefit to them a practical strategy will be needed, he said.
Skilled craftsmen are symbols of the true spirit of self-reliant India, he said, stressing, "we need to reorient our skill infrastructure system according to the needs of Vishwakarmas (artisans and craftsmen) of the nation." The government organised 12 post-budget webinars to seek ideas and suggestions for effectively implementing the initiatives announced in the Union Budget 2023. During these webinars, Modi said, stakeholders have suggested best possible ways for implementing the provisions of the Budget.
The prime minister said that crores of jobs have been created by skilling youth under the Skill India Mission and setting up Kaushal Rozgar Kendras.
"Small artisans play an important role in the production of local crafts. PM Vishwakarma Yojana focuses on empowering them," he said, lamenting that this skilled workforce was neglected for a long time and their work was considered non-significant during the years of slavery.
Even after India's independence, the prime minister said, there was no intervention from the government to work for their betterment and as a result, many traditional ways of skill and craftsmanship were abandoned by the families so that they could make a living elsewhere.
"Skilled craftsmen are symbols of the true spirit of self-reliant India and our government considers such people as Vishwakarma of new India," he said.
The prime minister said similar to the benefit to street vendors through the PM SVANidhi scheme, PM Vishwakarma Yojana will benefit the artisans.
Modi also underlined the need for reorienting the skill infrastructure system according to the needs of Vishwakarma and added that the Mudra Yojana is providing loans worth crores of rupees to small businesses without any bank guarantee.
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