Lifestyle

Government expands support to artisans for boosting agarbatti production

New Delhi: The government has expanded the support to artisans involved in agarbatti making as part of a programme aimed at making India self-reliant in the production incensed sticks, an official release said on Sunday. The MSME Ministry had recently approved the ‘Khadi Agarbatti Aatmanirbhar Mission’ towards creating employment for the unemployed and migrant workers in different parts of the country, handholding artisans and supporting the local agarbatti industry.

“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 demand for which has increased hugely in last one year,” an official statement said.

The current consumption of agarbatti in the country is approximately 1,490 MT per day. However, per day production of agarbatti in India is just 760 MT. The deficit is met through imports primarily from China and Vietnam.

To make India 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 1,500 artisans of about Rs 3.45 crore, development of two centres of Excellence costing at Rs 2.20 crore, the MSME Ministry said.

The two centres of excellence will be developed at IITs/NITs and at Fragrance and Flavour Development Centre Kannauj, besides setting up of 10 new SFURTI (Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries) 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 new guidelines were issued on September 4.

The four main pillars of the new programme are continuously supporting the artisans through training, raw material, marketing and financial support; working on all aspects of this product, like innovation in the fragrance & packaging; setting up 10 clusters with proper marketing linkages under SFURTI; and strengthening the machine manufacturing capability to achieve self-sufficiency in the country.

“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,” the statement said.

Under the expanded programme announced on 4 September, 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 statement said.

The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), one of the statutory organizations, under the Ministry of MSME, will implement the programme.