April 10 was a historic day for Khadi and Village Industries Commission Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena as for the first time KVIC started a project “Cotton Khadi work” in Assam giving out 10-spindle 25 charkhas, five looms and other accessories to rural youths at Silimkhowa village under Karbi-Anglong district in Kaziranga forest area. These superfast charkas not only raise productivity but also help artisans earn more.
Out of 80 women selected for the project, 35 have been given training. This unit would provide job opportunities to nearly 50 rural families of this area, KVIC Chairman said speaking to Urban Vaastu. “As Khadi and Village Industries activities have good employment potential in almost all the districts of Assam, we are providing job opportunities to the rural youths under Prime Minister Employment Generation Program (PMEGP). We also plan to launch bee-keeping training programmes so that the youths can have livelihood and be custodians of endangered species thereby protecting fauna and flora,” he said.
What this means on the ground is that endemic problem of deforestation and poaching would be tackled to a large extent. KVIC’s novel way to bring tribal youths into its fold means poaching and maintaining flora and fauna in and around Kaziranga National Park will be taken care of in right earnest. Instead of harming the environment by poaching or cutting trees the youths will be more inclined to earn a living the honest way thanks to KVIC giving them the wherewithal.
Weaving is part of Assam’s culture and KVIC is happy to associate with it, Saxena said. “Assam is famous for its glorious fabrics like Muga and Endi. KVIC programme in Assam now being implemented will be through 20 directly aided institutions of KVIC, covering about 5,000 artisans and approximately ₹11 crore worth of khadi produced. Sales of khadi and Polyvastra (a blended khadi fabric made of polyester and cotton) will be ₹14 crore with marketing assistance being provided through departmental Khadi Bhavans of Assam Khadi and Village Industries Board as well as non-departmental Bhavans of KVIC institutions.”
Has KVIC taken up any social welfare schemes?
Yes, we have, says Saxena. “Artisans have benefited from several of our social welfare schemes like Aam Admi Bima Yojana, Workshed Scheme for Khadi Artisan and Artisan Welfare and Pension Trust.
KVIC now has decided to go the whole hog in Assam and many production centres would be started soon to enhance khadi productivity.
PMEGP is credit-linked subsidy programme implemented through field offices of Khadi and Village Industries Commission(KVIC), State/Union Territory Khadi and Village Industries Boards (KVIBs) and District Industries Centres (DICs) with involvement of Banks.
PMEGP aims at creating additional employment opportunities in non-farm sector by providing margin money assistance for establishment of micro enterprises.
General category entrepreneurs can avail margin money subsidy of 25 per cent of project cost for setting up units in rural areas while it will be 35 per cent for special categories such as scheduled castes/scheduled tribes/women and others through implementing agencies and loans from banks, etc.,
for projects costing up to ₹25 lakh each in the manufacturing sector and up to Rs.10 lakh in service sector.
In urban areas, the quantum of margin money subsidy is 15% and 25% for general and special categories, respectively.