A new machine designed by IIT, Delhi helps improve production and working conditions for tulsimala producers

A technical design intervention by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, has helped the rural women in Bharatpur district of Rajasthan, engaged in fabrication of tulsimalas, boost their production and earn a better livelihood by introducing advanced machinery. The IIT’s help has benefited around 2,000 women in the region.

The Rural Technology Upgradation Unit of IIT, Delhi was recently contacted by Lupin Human Welfare & Research Foundation, a public service institution working in Bharatpur for its inputs into old machines used by women for producing tulsimalas. The old machines involved high degree of labour with an uncomfortable sitting posture, while production of the product remainedlow.

Tulsimala production provides livelihood to women mainly in Kaman, Deeg, Nadbai and Kumher tehsils of Bharatpur district. The location of temple towns such as Mathura, Vrindavan, Nandgaon and Barsana near Bharatpur ensures a good demand and consumption of tulsimalas throughout the year.

Women could fabricate 30 to 40 tulsimalas with the old machines and make a profit between Rs.60- Rs.80 a day after their routine expenditure. They were facing problems of low production and physical pain while working on these machines.

The Lupin Foundation took five women to IIT, Delhi, to explain the problems faced in operating the traditional machines. Rural Technology Upgradation Unit in-charge, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, visited Bharatpur to studythe problems and evolved a new model with state-of-the-art technology.

Sita Ram Gupta, executive director of the Foundation, points out that the new machines are capable of enhancing the production of tulsimalas four-foldand provide a comfortable posture for operating them. With each machine, women are now able to prepare beads for 200 to 250 malas everyday and fabricate the final product into different designs.

The machines can be operated by both electricity and battery, catering to the rural areas which often face power cuts. Polishing of beads by machines also saves the manual labour of women. With the upgraded machine gaining in popularity, Omwati from Bailara village has even started production of the machines themselves.

Each machine costs about Rs. 2,000, on which Lupin Foundation provides subsidy. With a phenomenal increase in production, tulsimalas are now sold in the temple towns of Nathdwara in Rajasthan, Dwarka in Gujarat and Shirdi in Maharashtra as well. Export of tulsimalas to America has also begun.