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Taking a holistic approach and looking to the enhanced interest of the stakeholders, Ministry of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), further expanded the reach and support to artisans, involved in agarbatti making, and to the agarbatti industry, by issuing new guidelines on September 4, 2020. Further to its launching the support programme on July 30, 2020, the ministry has looked at all aspects of the industry, beyond just supply of machines for making agarbatti. This includes ensuring supply of inputs and raw materials, the ministry has said.
The four main pillars of the new programme
i) Continuously supporting the artisans through training, raw material, marketing and financial support.
ii) Working on all aspects of this product, like innovation in the fragrance and packaging, use of new and alternate raw materials like re-usable flowers, coir pith among others, supply of bamboo sticks by closely working with Ministry of Agriculture. A ‘centre-of-excellence’ for this purpose is being set up in FFDC (Flavour and Fragrance Development Centre) in Kannauj, Uttar Pradesh.
iii) Setting up 10 clusters with proper marketing linkages under SFURTI (Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries) scheme of the Ministry of MSME at a total cost of about Rs. 50 crore to benefit about 5,000 artisans for their sustainable employment and enhanced earnings.
iv) Strengthen the machine manufacturing capability to achieve self-sufficiency in the country and develop various other products by setting up centres-of-excellence with IITs and NITs at a cost of Rs. 2.20 crore.
According to the Ministry of MSME, under the expanded programme announced on, 400 automatic agarbatti making machines and additional 500 pedal operated machines will be given to ‘self-help-groups (SHGs)’ and individuals through 20 pilot projects, across the country with proper marketing and raw material supply tie-ups. The programme will immediately benefit about 1500 artisans, in providing sustainable employment with increased earnings. Artisans developing hand rolled agarbatti and migrant workers will be given preference as part of the programme.
Now, to make India Aatmnirbhar (self-reliant) in this sector, the total size of the programme, has been increased to more than Rs 55 crore, which will include immediate support to about 1500 artisans of about Rs 3.45 crore, development of two centres-of-excellence costing at Rs 2.20 crore and setting up of 10 new SFURTI clusters at a cost of about Rs 50 crore, benefitting about 5,000 additional artisans. Earlier the size of the programme was of Rs 2.66 crore covering about 500 artisans, the Ministry of MSME has informed.
The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), one of the statutory organisations the ministry will implement the programme and will handhold the artisans and SHGs with proper backward and forward linkages and needful support.
These projects, will give boost to the agarbatti industry and help in further building indigenous capability in all areas of agarbatti manufacturing with increased exports, and enhanced employment opportunities to the artisans and entrepreneurs.