Skill Development Ministry’s pilot project bears fruit as artisans get training and market linkage

New Delhi : Two recent skilling initiatives by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) have started bearing fruits as skilled craftsmen from Jammu and Kashmir and Nagaland showcase their rich heritage and traditional handicraft in the 53rd edition of IHGF Delhi Fair in the National Capital Region. The artisans were upskilled and reskilled under the special Pilot projects announced by the Ministry which included Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), a component of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY).

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a skill certification component to enable Indian youth to take up industry-relevant skill certification which will help them to secure a better livelihood.

The initiatives were launched after Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship; and Ministry of Electronics and IT, visited the two states. Post his visit, he expressed the need to organise a project for the preservation and revival of dying traditional crafts of the region as the handicraft sector is the major employment generator in the region. It was observed that the heritage and traditional skill clusters required skilled artisans from villages to meet the demand for traditional crafts in Nagaland and Jammu and Kashmir. This initiative aims at industry and market linkage, encouraging micro-entrepreneurship.

Uplifting local artisans has always been an article of faith for Hon’ble Prime minister Shri Narendra Modi. He had said supporting traditional artisans and craftsmen will add a new dimension to the Skill India Mission by improving the economic conditions of those engaged in this sector. Indian handicraft is the embodiment of our rich heritage and diverse culture. With beautifully articulated designs, our artisans bring alive the legacy of their land, ethnicity, mythology and leave their art form for generations to cherish.

The Handicrafts Sector plays a significant role in India’s economy. It provides employment to a vast segment of population settled in rural and semi-urban areas, generating substantial foreign exchange for the country while preserving its cultural heritage. In the fiscal year 2021, the handicraft and handloom sector in India was valued at Rs. 25,706.3 crore and contributed nearly Rs 126 billion toward the country’s GDP. As India celebrates Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, there is an urgent need to train our artisans in innovative and upgraded techniques so that they can make the most out of naye avsars (new opportunities) and showcase their unique products on global platforms.

Talking about the initiatives, Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar said, “The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) is invested in realising the true potential of artisans and weavers of India by nurturing the handicraft products and traditional industry clusters in the country. The upskilling project under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) will improve the competencies of the unorganized workforce of the handicraft industry. Moreover, we will be aligning artisans and weavers with the standardized NSQF (National Skills Qualifications Framework). I am confident that this effort will increase skills and technical knowledge among local artisans and help them sustain a decent livelihood.”

About the upskilling project in Jammu and Kashmir:

Two projects were launched in Jammu and Kashmir, namely — (i) Revival of Namda craft of Kashmir as a special pilot project under PMKVY 3.0 and (ii) upskilling of artisans and weavers of Kashmir under RPL. While the former benefitted 2,250 people of 30 Namda Clusters from 6 districts of Kashmir, the latter targeted upskilling of 10,900 artisans and weavers in the state.

The special project was designed as a short-term training curriculum to preserve this endangered Namda craft. The project was implemented in 25 batches in three cycles of training. Each training program was approximately three and half months, which results in the cycles being completed in approximately 14 – 16 months. Moreover, the artisans and weavers were certified with the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Type-1 (Bridge Module Certification) under the close watch of the Handicrafts and Carpet Sector Skill Council (HCSSC).

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