Minister Biswajit distributes financial assistance to artisans

Imphal: Textiles, commerce and industry minister Thongam Biswajit Singh, on Thursday distributed financial assistance to national and state awardees under the Scheme of Modernisation of Handicrafts for 2019-20.

The distribution ceremony, organised by the state directorate of handlooms and textiles was held at the conference hall of the minister’s secretariat here.

Altogether 77 outstanding crafts-persons and artisans were selected for the assistance for the year 2019-20. The selected crafts-persons and artisans included seven national awardees, three national merit awardees and 67 state awardees.

Biswajit said, “Today we are witnessing a lot of changes around us and we also have to act accordingly. We live in a competitive world and we need to improve quality of our products for value addition of our finished products.”

He appreciated and congratulated the awardees of the assistance scheme and said that they are being recognised for their tireless efforts.

Biswajit also spoke at length about MEETAC, which he said is an initiative of the present governor. He continued that under the scheme, the government is trying to provide standardisation of finished products and at the same time provide a platform to market them.

 He f explained the importance of handloom and handicraft in our society and said that we should encourage our youth including young entrepreneurs to enter the handloom and handicraft sector. Stating that handloom and handicraft sector can help in employment generation, he said that an increase in the number entrepreneurs will eventually help in the fight against unemployment.

He said there are several opportunities which they can enjoy with hardwork. Under the Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI), the directorate has already submitted four projects.

Although there is a lockdown in the state due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have to sustain our livelihood by properly following the protocols and guidelines issued from time to time by the government. We have to enhance our economic activities in order to minimise unemployment.

Commissioner Devesh Deval said the status of handloom and handicraft indicates strong culture and tradition. The directorate has made rapid improvement over the years.

Yyoung entrepreneurs should apply for the Start Up schemes so that they can avail both subsidy as well as loan facilities. He further expressed the need to increase spaces in e-market.

Director K Lamlee Kamei stated that Manipur has 22 National Handicrafts Awardees which is the highest number in the entire NE region of the country. It is instituted by the ministry of textiles. In addition, department of textiles, commerce and industry has conferred state Handicrafts Award to 257 outstanding handicrafts artisans till date. Thus, Manipur has conferred highest number of state award to handicraft artisans in the North East states.

Joint director E.Jiten said only national awardees were invited in this formal function for receiving the financial assistance as there are restrictions for mass gathering due to the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic. He said with this formal distribution, the financial assistance of 77 artisans will now be transferred to their respective bank account.

Under the scheme, financial assistance of Rs 2 lakh each is provided to national awardee and Rs 1 lakh each to national merit and state awardee. A total of Rs 84 lakh is provided to 77 outstanding crafts persons for 2019-20.

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