Under the five-year scheme, to be formally announced on Vishwakarma Jayanti on September 17, one person each from the eligible families will get collateral-free subsidised loans of up to Rs 2 lakh in two tranches at a concessional interest rate of 5%.
“Embracing our nation’s skills and cultural diversity, the Vishwakarma initiative will celebrate our traditional artisans and crafts people, both from rural and urban India,” Modi said on X, formerly Twitter. “Honouring the timeless Guru-Shishya tradition, it will augment the efforts of our Vishwakarmas, connecting them to modern value chains and preserving their invaluable skills…”
Union minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said in the first year, the scheme will cover 6 lakh families of craftsmen, including carpenters, boat makers, blacksmiths, cobblers, masons, barbers, washermen, tailors and makers of brooms, toys and garlands.
Scheme to be fully funded by Centre, says Vaishnaw
Union minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said the scheme will seek to upgrade skills by imparting basic and advanced training, provide new tools and market access. It will also provide low-interest credit support for expansion of business and market outreach.
It is mostly OBCs, Hindus as well as their Muslim counterparts known as Pasmandas, who pursue traditional skills-based craft. “This scheme will be fully funded by the central government,” the minister said.
He said in the first tranche, the government will roll out basic and advanced skilling programmes with a stipend of Rs 500 per day to beneficiaries identified during training. Sources said though the scheme targets to cover 30 lakh craftsmen, the government may extend the basic and advanced skill training programmes to more of them, if more people register. For basic skill training, the government will provide stipend for five days and for advanced skilling, the training period will be 15 days. The Centre will provide Rs 15,000 support to each beneficiary for buying modern tools.
Vaishnaw said considering that getting working capital is a challenge for carrying out current business and for expansion, beneficiaries will be eligible, in the first tranche, to get up to Rs 1 lakh loan at 5% interest rate. They will be eligible for a similar loan of up to Rs 2 lakh in the second tranche after repaying the first loan.
The minister said for market outreach, the scheme will provide support for getting quality certification for products and services, branding and also for online market access. Officials said the implementation of the scheme, including the selection process, will be “easy and transparent”.