Assam Artisans Receive Major Push from the Industry Dept
Government support not just limited to financial help; it is also providing international training
Artisans and local enterprises of Assam can look forward to better days as the Department of Industry & Commerce, under the leadership of the present government, has been working for their development. Various measures have been taken for the training and development of local artisans and to subsequently place Assam’s traditional crafts on the global platforms.
About 19 local enterprises register as sellers with Flipkart, Amazon
The Commissionerate of Industry & Commerce has been trying to promote the traditional crafts of the state across the country. As such the department has been talking with e-commerce giants like Amazon and Flipkart to register the local artisans as sellers.
“We are trying to help the workers. If they can sell through online platforms, they can get better value for their hard work and also a bigger market. We have already selected 300 Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) units to be registered with Flipkart. But due to various requirement lapses, only 19 of them were selected to register as sellers under Flipkart’s ‘Samarth’ initiative that is aimed to empower the lesser privileged sections of society,” said a highly placed source.
“Our artisans have very small scale enterprises. Most are from such backward sections that they cannot afford a smartphone. Further, the need of a mandatory GST registration and artisan card is the major hindrance in registering with such online shopping sites. We are still trying and will definitely do all things necessary to help them promote their products like the rest of India,” the source added.
Reportedly, the registration process of the selected 19 enterprises have been completed and photoshoots of their products like mekhela chador, Assamese traditional jewellery, etc are underway. Talks are on way with Amazon as well for similar endeavours.
Rs 10 crores sanctioned to benefit MSMEs of Assam
The Department of Industries has adopted various schemes for the development of the local artisans of Assam that have benefitted many immensely. In order to support the micro and small enterprises, the department had developed the ‘BIPONI’ scheme in the financial year 2016-17. A total of Rs 10 crores has been sanctioned by the Assam government under this scheme. As of now around Rs 6 crores has already been invested.
The main objective of the ‘BIPONI’ scheme is to support the micro and small enterprises to participate in different trade fairs and events not just within the state, but across India and also abroad for the marketing of their products and to get proper exposure.
A total of 101 events or trade fairs have already been conducted, benefitting 7,363 units (individual and organisations).
Under the BIPONI scheme, participants of trade fairs and melas are provided financial assistance of Rs 5000 as stall rent, if the event is held within the state and Rs 15,000 if the event is held outside. Additional Travelling Allowance (TA) and Dearness Allowance (DA) are also provided by the office of the General Manager, District Industries & Commerce Centres (DICC).
A total of Rs 5,90,88,250 has been spent by the department of industry and commerce so far - Rs 4,02,05,218 as stall rent and Rs 1,88,83,032 as TA/DA.
Officials in the commissionerate of industry and commerce further informed that although the lockdown has hampered the progress of the scheme as desired, the department has already geared up for the future implementation of the scheme again and is hopeful to benefit many other micro and small enterprises.
Highly placed sources in the department have said that the scheme has been devised to benefit the women entrepreneurs more. About 80 percent of the beneficiaries under the BIPONI scheme are women; approximately 5,000 women entrepreneurs availed incentives till date through the various fairs and exhibitions.
2015 artisans benefitted by Mukhya Mantrir Thalua Udyog Bikash Achani
After a recent audit of the Industry and Commerce Department, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has applauded the efforts of the department on its work towards the development of the local artisans of the state.
Under the Mukhya Mantrir Thalua Udyog Bikash Achani (MMTUBA), the Commissionerate of Industries and Commerce has alloted financial help to 19 units of artisans this financial year for procurement of tools and equipments of the craft.
2015 individual beneficiaries have been alloted a total of Rs 244.50 lakhs as funds under the MMTUBA scheme.
Amongst them are 700 terracotta artisans from Majuli and Dhubri, 300 sital pati makers from Goalpara, 100 blacksmiths from Jorhat, 100 traditional Japi makers from Nalbari, 120 water hyacinth farmers from Kamrup (M), 200 cane and bamboo artisans from Karimganj and Sivasagar, 200 potters from Kamrup (R), 55 people associated with wood craft and decorative textile in Sonitpur district, 40 brass metal craftsmen of Kokrajhar, 100 wooden craftsmen from Golaghat district and 100 artisans making Assamese jewellery of Nagaon District.
Development of women entrepreneurs a priority
The Assam government has been working relentlessly for women empowerment. Various workshops are organised regularly to help interested women acquire the basic skills of a craft and develop henceforth.
Since the financial year 2016-17 to 2019-20, over Rs 200 lakhs has been spent by the Commissionerate of Industry and Commerce and 1,284 women entrepreneurs have been trained.
The women are trained in various crafts like fashion designing, food processing, food and beverages, traditional jewellery making, block painting and lifestyle products, home decor item making, candle making, manufacturing of jute and water hyacinth products, natural dye value chain, as well as in e-marketing in different state-level women conclave.
Apart from training the participants locally, they are sent to different prestigious institutions of the country. The associated institutes include NSIC, IIE, NIFT-Kolkata, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel International School of Textile and Management in Coimbatore, Indian Institute of Gem and Jewellery in Jaipur, amongst others.
“We have also sent a few women to South Africa to understand how their market functions and learn their exotic gem cutting skill. We plan to send more in the coming days. The lockdown has hampered all our plans. Our exhibitions have also seen many foreign customers who favour products of all the indigenous tribes. So our department wishes to promote all tribal goods of Assam further,” an official added.
Sources have informed that the industry department is considering a budget of about Rs 95 lakhs for the coming financial year. This is mostly aimed at benefitting the poorest-of-the-poor section in setting up small workshops at home like tailoring, etc.
Department of Industries claim ‘Advantage Assam’ to be a major success
The Advantage Assam Global Investors’ Summit was held in February 2018 to increase Assam’s trade and other relations with Southeast Asia. It was aimed to develop commerce of the northeastern region and develop the MSME sector.
However, experts have always claimed the summit to be a failure as the state has failed to attract even basic investments. G Plus enquired about the aftermath of the high-end summit and the benefits received.
The office of the Commissioner of Industry & Commerce, denying all allegations of failure, provided detailed reports of the investments attracted to the state after the Advantage Assam Summit.
A total of 207 national and international companies have made investments in Assam across different sectors. The quantum of investment of Rs 51,958.20 crores has been received in the last three years.
23 business houses have invested in the agriculture sector which includes names like Spice Jet (Rs 1,250 Cr invested), McLeod Russel India Ltd and Integrated Agri Infratech Pvt Ltd (Rs 500 Cr each) amongst others.
Seven other companies have invested in the education sector. Handloom and textile department has received investments from six companies. 45 companies invested in various industries ranging from construction, pharmaceuticals to cosmetics. ONGC with Rs 13,000 crore investment, Oil India Ltd with Rs. 10,000 crore investment, NRL and IOCL are the major players in this sector.
Apart from the above, information technology has seen major development with 33 investors, tourism has received 17 investors, animal husbandry 7 investors, and 2 investors in the department of skill, employment, and entrepreneurship.
The urban development department has received the highest number of investors - 66 in total.
“The Advantage Assam Global Investors’ Summit has helped Assam feature in the investment map of the world. Further, due to our geographic location, we are more close to major Southeast Asian countries rather than to Delhi or Mumbai. We have acquired investments as such and are hopeful for more in the near future. We are indeed gradually progressing to be the gateway to Southeast Asia,” said a senior official.
- Assam Artisans
- Department of Industry & Commerce
- Assam government