Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: Over a month after the Modi government approved a programme to benefit artisans in agarbatti manufacturing under ‘Gramodyog Vikas Yojana’, its size and target number of beneficiaries have been enhanced. As per the new guidelines of the programme, its overall size has been increased from Rs 2.66 crore to Rs 55 crore and would likely benefit 6,500 artisans from around 500 artisans envisaged earlier. The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) under the MSME Ministry will implement the programme and handhold artisans and self-help groups (SHG) with backward and forward linkages along with required support, according to the ministry.
The government will develop two Centers of Excellence (CoE) costing Rs 2.20 crore at IITs/NITs and Flavour and Fragrance Development Center in UP’s Kannauj district to work on “all aspects of this product, like innovation in the fragrance & packaging, use of new/alternate raw materials like re-usable flowers, coir pith etc., the supply of bamboo sticks by closely working with Ministry of Agriculture etc.,” the ministry said in a statement. 10 clusters would also be set-up with marketing linkages under the ministry’s Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI) scheme for around Rs 50 crores. The government expected to benefit around 5,000 artisans through this for sustainable employment and better earnings.
The programme would also include strengthening “the machine manufacturing capability to achieve self-sufficiency in the country,” the statement added. Announced on September 4, the revised programme will offer 400 automatic agarbatti making machines instead of 200 planned earlier apart from additional 500 pedal-operated machines to SHGs and individuals through 20 pilot projects in India. “The programme will immediately benefit about 1,500 artisans, in providing sustainable employment with increased earnings.” Those making hand-rolled agarbatti and the migrant workers will be prefered. The immediate support to these artisans would be worth Rs 3.45 crore.
In order to boost the sector, the government had earlier this year increased the import duty on bamboo sticks to 25 per cent from 10 per cent. KVC had said that the move would likely generate at least 1 lakh jobs in eight-10 months in the agarbatti industry. The hike was to boost domestic bamboo for Atmanirbhar Bharat, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs had tweeted announcing the hike.