Kashmir Indepth

MSDE launches pilot projects to revive, promote traditional Namda Craft, upskill artisans & weavers of Kashmir

Modi Govt laying special focus on JKs’ development, fulfilling promises of transforming local economy: Rajeev Chandrasekhar

SRINAGAR, NOVEMBER 27 ( KINS): Union Minister of State for Skill Development, Entrepreneurship, Electronics and Information Technology, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, today launched two ambitious projects; ‘Revival of Namda craft of Kashmir as a special pilot project under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) 3.0’ and ‘Upskilling of artisans and weavers of Kashmir under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), component of PMKVY’.

The objective of these projects is to boost and preserve the traditional Namda craft of Kashmir and upskill the local weavers and artisans of the UT to enhance their productivity through RPL assessment and certification. The Namda project will benefit 2,250 people of 30 Namda Clusters from 6 districts of Kashmir including Srinagar, Baramulla, Ganderbal, Bandipora, Budgam and Anantnag while RPL initiative targets to upskill 10,900 artisans and weavers of J&K.

Pertinently, Namda craft is a rug made of sheep wool through felting technique instead of normal weaving process. Due to low availability of raw material, lack of skilled manpower and marketing techniques, the export of this craft has declined almost 100 percent between 1998 and 2008. Therefore, through this special project under PMKVY, the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has designed short-term training curriculum to preserve this endangered craft.

The Namda project will be an industry-based training program with beneficiaries involved in Namda Crafts Production who will contribute towards preserving and reviving the rich heritage associated with the unique craft in Kashmir. This will also improve the access of existing artisans of Namda crafts cluster in Kashmir besides enhancing their prospects of employability.

Launching the initiative, Rajeev Chandrasekhar said “India has a rich heritage and is home to several traditional art forms. It is an article of faith for the Modi Government to revive and promote traditional and heritage skills of artisans and weavers of J&K thus empowering them economically and socially as well. Not only that, we should strive to offer them exposure to the international markets so that the world becomes aware of our vibrant culture. ‘When I travelled to Jammu and Kashmir, people of J&K sought support to boost the local economy through customised skill training programmes. This prompted the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship to come up with this programme in a bid to meet the economic aspirations of the local youth and take them on the path of development. I am confident that with the local industry coming on board with us, we will be able to increase the carpet exports from 600 crore to 6000 crore and create employment for 8 lakh people’, he maintained.

He asserted, “The programme will also focus on continuously skilling, upskilling and reskilling local youth to create a ladder of career progression and make them strong pillars of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat. “The Government is working with a laser focus towards J&K’s development and is delivering on all its promises” said Rajeev Chandrasekhar. He appreciated the efforts of officials at MSDE, National Skill Development Corporation and Sector Skill Councils as this custom designed programme was conceptualised, processed and sanctioned within a record time of just 2 months. The custom designed programme is symbolic of the New Approach which the Government is mulling for its skill development programme. It is based on the principle of continuous skilling, upskilling, re-skilling and employment as an assured outcome, industry as an important stakeholder in skill training ecosystem.

Union Secretary, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Rajesh Aggarwal, said “Our team at the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship is working with new zeal on this special project. The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has designed a short-term training curriculum to preserve Namda and I am confident that we will not only be able to revive this endangered craft, but also make it economically viable and generate jobs to help local artisans. This project is an endeavour to uplift the tribal community and preserve the heritage and we will ensure that it is being implemented diligently.

He said that the upskilling project under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is expected to improve the competencies of the unorganized workforce of the Handicrafts and Carpet sector. The artisans and weavers shall be aligned to the standardized NSQF (National Skills Qualifications Framework). It will also improve the access of existing artisans and weavers to sustainable livelihoods and lead to increased skills and technical knowledge among them. Additionally, the pilot project will enhance the marketing skills and techniques that will promote traditional and local crafts by artisans and weavers, he said adding that it will help them in making designs to match the current market demand. The initiative will be a value addition to the traditional handicraft products through Upskilling Bridge Module and Government of India certification. He informed that the training delivery partners for the upskilling initiative are Mir handicraft, Srinagar Carpet Training and Market Centre and there is special value addition for 10% high performers.

Pertinently, the entire programme will be implemented in different phases, which included Selection of Artisans and Weavers, Training of Trainers (ToT) and Upskilling of Artisans and Weavers through RPL with Bridge Module.

Further, after the orientation program along with bridge module, the artisans and weavers shall be certified with the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Type-1 (Bridge Module Certification). Handicrafts and Carpet Sector Skill Council (HCSSC) in close association with MSDE will monitor the day-to-day progress of the overall project.

The abrogation of the Articles 370 and 35A has put Kashmir on the same footing as the rest of India by infusing new life to all the projects across various sectors that were ignored during the previous political regimes. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there are now 77 ministers working round the clock to put the Union Territory (UT) on the path of development. The Indian government is firmly committed towards skilling, reskilling and upskilling the youth and has already forged a strong relationship with the private sector.

In the field of Information Technology (IT), several initiatives like providing subsidies on rent to outside investors and building two mammoth IT parks in Jammu and Srinagar have been undertaken. Concerted and technology-based efforts have also been made to promote the agriculture sector for young start ups in the region. The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), under the guidance of the PM has also decided to train youth of the Valley in filmmaking, opening up new job roles for them.

Last month, Rajeev Chandrasekhar after his visit to Nagaland and Jammu and Kashmir 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 there. 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.

A similar pilot project will also be launched next month in Nagaland to skill and upkill over 4,000 artisans and weavers to generate local employment opportunities and strengthen the craft clusters. ( KINS)

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