Handicrafts key zone of employment: J&K Chief Minister
Flagging handicrafts sector the key zone of employment in the State, Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah emphasized the urgent need of addressing the problems confronting artisans.
“Government wants to rejuvenate handicraft sector and ameliorate the lot of artisans besides protecting and upgrading this specialty of the State”, he said, adding “in order to reduce the chance of exploiting poor artisans by middle man the concerned department should devise an efficient method where under the artisans are able to directly market their handicraft products particularly in Delhi and other metropolitan cities”.
Mr. Omar said the artisans need to be encouraged to sell their products in outside markets by empowering them with required facilities so that the benefits percolate directly to poor artisans, adding that he has already constituted a task force under Chief Secretary, which has been asked to submit its report within three months suggesting measures and recommendations for upliftment of artisans and the handicrafts sector.
The Chief Minister was chairing a high level meeting, convened to look into various aspects of government intervention required in the revival of handicraft sector to its pristine glory and ensuring social security to the artisans.
The Minister for Finance, Abdul Rahim Rather, the Minister for Rural Development, Ali Mohammad Sagar, the Political Advisor to Chief Minister, Devender Singh Rana, the Principal Secretary Planning, Khurshid Ahmad Ganai, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, B. B. Vyas, Commissioner Secretary Finance, Sudhanshu Pandey, Chairman J & K Bank, Mushtaq Ahmad, Commissioner-Secretary Industries, Umang Narula and other senior officers were present in the meeting.
Omar Abdullah said that involvement of finance and planning departments and Jammu and Kashmir Bank in the task to concretize the proposal for upliftment of handicrafts sector and the artisans is imperative as the economic component to deal with the problems confronting this sector is of essential nature.
The Chief Minister underlined the need for dove-tailing various schemes in vogue in the handicraft department and Jammu and Kashmir Bank. “There is a need to harmonize the schemes available in various departments aimed at artisan benefits. This would consolidate the efforts and help reach out the artisans more appropriately”, he said.
Omar Abdullah said that besides Valley, Jammu division and Ladakh too have traditional handicrafts activities which also need to be properly focused for development and upgradation. He directed the task force to reach out the artisans in all areas and ascertain their difficulties while formulating the report.
The Chief Minister also directed the Task Force to look into the functioning of various emporia and come up with suggestions how these market outlets are utilized to benefit the poor artisans.
The Minister for Rural Development presented a comprehensive resume of the difficulties of artisans and stressed on early attending to the handicrafts sector for its revival and growth. He said handicrafts sector has been the highest discipline of providing jobs to the thousands of artisans and generating economic activities of greater magnitude. “Our focus should be on small and poor artisans who have suffered a lot during the past 20 years, he emphasized.
The Commissioner-Secretary Industries presented a resume of measures worked out by the Handicrafts Department for the promotion and growth of handicrafts sector in the State.
The meeting discussed matters pertaining to improving access to credit by the artisans under Micro Enterprises Scheme, Capacity Building, enhancement in Stipend to trainees, Raw Material, Marketing, Rehber-e-Dastkar Scheme, Design and Production Diversification, Artisan Colony and Exemption of VAT.
State, Chief Minister - Jammu & Kashmir Government