Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has created a unique business model to empower women Agarbatti artisans in Assam and strengthen the local agarbatti industry, which is a major employment creator in the state. KVIC has engaged 70 tribal women with the flagship Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Program (PMEGP) to set up their own agarbatti manufacturing units at Birkuchi in Kamrup district of Assam. KVIC has also roped in a business partner, which is a successful local agarbatti manufacturer of Assam that will provide raw material and take back all the agarbatti produced by these 70 women entrepreneurs by paying labour charges. These women belong to seven self-help groups (SHGs).
KVIC, on Thursday, also inaugurated a Multi-Disciplinary Training Centre (MDTC) at Rupnagar in Assam that will provide training to young entrepreneurs in various self-employment activities like beekeeping, pottery, leather-craft, among other cottage industries.
This agarbatti business model is unique in the sense that these women entrepreneurs will be free from the hassle of selling or marketing their finished goods. On the other hand, the business partner will enhance his production of agarbatti without incurring any capital cost on purchasing new machines. KVIC has engaged “Mahabahu Agro Products”, a leading agarbatti manufacturing unit, which was earlier set up by KVIC under the PMEGP programme, as the business partner. It will also extend all technical support to these women entrepreneurs for manufacturing high-quality agarbatti. These 70 machines will produce a huge quantity of nearly 5,600 Kg Agarbatti daily that will be purchased by the business partner.
KVIC, under its flagship PMEGP scheme, has facilitated a total financial aid of Rs 5 lakh – Rs3 5 lakh for each of the 70 agarbatti units – through Assam Gramin Vikash Bank, Guwahati to these women, to set up the agarbatti manufacturing units. KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena on Thursday handed over the sanction letters to these women entrepreneurs at Gauhati. KVIC has given a subsidy of 35 per cent, i.e. Rs 12.25 lakh to support these units. With this bank loan, the entrepreneurs have been provided with automatic agarbatti making machines, mixer machines and dryer machines. These women will get machines soon.
KVIC Chairman said this initiative aims at handholding artisans and supporting the local agarbatti industry which has received a big boost from the Central government in the last couple of years. “It is a unique initiative to make India Aatmanirbhar in agarbatti production while creating sustainable employment for women entrepreneurs in a very less investment. KVIC will also explore such business models in other parts of the country that will not empower small entrepreneurs but also increase domestic agarbatti production substantially,” Saxena said.
The model has been designed in the wake of the two major decisions – import restriction on raw agarbatti and increase in import duty on bamboo sticks – taken by the Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Finance respectively to support the local agarbatti industry. The current consumption of agarbatti in the country is approximately 1,790 MT per day; however, India’s per day production of agarbatti is just 760 MT. There is a huge gap between the demand and the supply and hence, immense scope for job creation.
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