In a bid to boost the indigenous capability, the Government of India has expanded support and enhanced employment opportunities to artisans across the country for making agarbatti, particularly those developing hand-rolled agarbatti makers and migrant workers.
In an effort to the reach out to artisans involved in agarbatti making and the agarbatti industry, the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Ministry issued new guidelines on September 4 and had launched the support programme on July 30. Prior to it, the ministry reviewed all aspects of the agarbatti industry, including the supply of machines for making agarbatti, ensuring supply of inputs and raw materials.
The MSME Ministry's new programme to support the agarbatti industry and the workers includes:
1. Continuously supporting the artisans through training, raw material, marketing and financial support;
2. 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 etc., supply of bamboo sticks by closely working with Ministry of Agriculture etc. A ‘Center of Excellence’ for this purpose is being set up in FFDC (Flavour and Fragrance Development Center) Kannauj;
3. Setting up 10 clusters with proper marketing linkages under SFURTI (Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries) scheme of the MSME at a total cost of about Rs 50 crore, to benefit about 5000 artisans for their sustainable employment and enhanced earnings;
4. Strengthen the machine manufacturing capability to achieve self-sufficiency in the country and develop various other products by setting up ‘Centers of Excellence’ with IITs/NITs etc. at a cost of Rs. 2.20 crore.
20 pilot projects
As many as 400 Automatic Agarbatti making machines as against 200 earlier, 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 1,500 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, the ministry stated in a release.
The ministry stated that to make India AtmaNirbhar in this sector, the total size of the programme, has been increased to more than Rs 55 Cr, which will include immediate support to about 1500 artisans of about Rs 3.45 Cr, development of two centers of excellence costing Rs 2.20 Cr at IITs/NITs and at FFDC Kannauj and setting up of 10 new SFURTI clusters at a cost of about Rs 50 Cr, benefitting about 5000 additional artisans. Earlier the size of the programme was of Rs 2.66 Cr, covering about 500 artisans.
The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) will implement the programme and will handhold the artisans and SHGs with proper backward and forward linkages and needful support, the ministry added.