The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, addressed a Post Budget Webinar on the subject of ‘PM Vishwakarma Kaushal Samman’. It is the last and final of a series of 12 post-budget webinars organized by the government to seek ideas and suggestions for effectively implementing the initiatives announced in the Union Budget 2023.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister said that for the last three years, a tradition of a post Budget dialogue with the stakeholders has emerged. He expressed happiness that all stakeholders have participated productively in these discussions. He noted that instead of discussing the making of the Budget, the stakeholders have discussed the best possible ways of implementing the provisions of the Budget. The Prime Minister remarked that the series of post-budget webinars is a new chapter where the discussions held inside the Parliament by Parliamentarians are being held by all stakeholders where getting valuable suggestions from them makes for very useful practice.
The Prime Minister said that today’s webinar is dedicated to the skill and expertise of the crores of Indians. Referring to skilling and creating job opportunities for crores of youth through Skill India Mission and Kaushal Rozgar Kendra, the Prime Minister emphasized the need for a specific and targeted approach. PM Vishwakarma Kaushal Samman Yojana or PM Vishwakarma, the Prime Minister said is a result of this thinking. Explaining the need for the scheme and the rationale of the name ‘Vishwakarma’, the Prime Minister talked about the exalted status of Lord Vishwakarma in the Indian ethos and a rich tradition of respect for those who work with their hands with implements.
The Prime Minister said while a few sectors’ artisans received some attention, many classes of artisans such as carpenters, ironsmiths, sculptors, masons and many others that are an integral part of society have been adapting to the changing times to fulfill the needs of the society that were ignored.
“Small artisans play an important role in the production of local crafts. PM Vishwakarma Yojana focuses on empowering them”, the Prime Minister said. He informed that skilled craftsmen were contributing in their own ways towards exports in ancient India. He lamented that this skilled workforce was neglected for a long time and their work was considered non-significant during the long years of slavery. Even after India’s independence, the Prime Minister pointed out that there was no intervention from the government to work for their betterment and as a result, many traditional ways of skill and craftsmanship were abandoned by the families so that they could make a living elsewhere. The Prime Minister underlined that this working class have conserved their craft of using traditional methods for centuries and they are making a mark with their extraordinary skills and unique creations. “Skilled craftsmen are symbols of the true spirit of self-reliant India and our government considers such people as Vishwakarma of new India.” He explained that PM Vishwakarma Kaushal Samman Yojana is initiated especially for them where the central focus remains on those skilled craftsmen from villages and towns who create a living by working with their own hands.
Focussing on the social nature of human beings, the Prime Minister said that there are streams of social life which are essential for the existence and thriving of society. These tasks, despite the growing influence of technology, remain relevant. PM Vishwakarma Yojana focuses on such scattered artisans, he said.
Referring to Gandhi ji’s concept of Gram Swaraj, the Prime Minister highlighted the role of these professions in village life along with agriculture. “Empowering every section of the village for its development is essential for India’s development journey”, he said. The Prime Minister said similar to the benefit to street vendors through the PM SVANidhi scheme, PM Vishwakarma Yojana will benefit the artisans.
The Prime Minister stressed the need to reorient the skill infrastructure system according to the needs of Vishwakarma. He gave the example of Mudra Yojana where the government is providing loans worth crores of rupees without any bank guarantee. He pointed out that this scheme must provide maximum benefit to our Vishwakarma and also mentioned the need for digital literacy campaigns to Vishwakarma Saathis on priority.
Mentioning the continued attraction of hand-made products, the Prime Minister said that the government will provide holistic institutional support to every Vishwakarma of the country. This will ensure easy loans, skilling, technical support, digital empowerment, brand promotion, marketing and raw material. “The objective of the scheme is to develop traditional artisans and craftsmen while preserving their rich tradition”, he said.
“Our aim is that Vishwakarmas of today can become entrepreneurs of tomorrow. For this, sustainability is essential in their business model”, The Prime Minister said. The Prime Minister emphasized that the needs of the customers are also being taken care of as the government is keeping its eye out not only on the local market but also targeting the global market. He requested all the stakeholders do a hand-holding of Vishwakarma colleagues, increasing their awareness and thereby helping them in moving forward. For this you have to go to the ground, you have to go among these Vishwakarma companions.
The Prime Minister highlighted that artisans and craftsmen can be strengthened when they become a part of the value chain and pointed out that many of them can become suppliers and producers for our MSME sector. Noting that they can be made an important part of the economy with the help of tools and technology, the Prime Minister said that industry can increase production by linking these people with their needs where skill and quality training can be provided. The Prime Minister emphasized better coordination between the Governments that will help in the financing of projects by banks. “This can be a win-win situation for every stakeholder. Corporate companies will get quality products at competitive prices. Banks’ money will be invested in schemes which can be trusted. And this will show the widespread effect of the schemes of the government”, the Prime Minister said. He also highlighted that startups can also create a huge market for craft products through the e-commerce model apart from helping them with better technology, design, packaging and financing. The Prime Minister expressed confidence that the partnership with the private sector will be further strengthened through PM-Vishwakarma so that the innovation power and business acumen of the private sector can be maximized.
The Prime Minister concluded by requesting all the stakeholders to prepare a robust blueprint. He emphasized that the government is trying to reach the people in the remote parts of the country and many of them are getting the benefits of the government schemes for the first time. Most of the artisans are from dalit, adivasi, backward communities or are women and to reach and provide benefit to them a practical strategy will be needed. “For this, we will have to work in a time-bound mission mode”, the Prime Minister concluded.