Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday, February 1, announced a package of assistance for artisans and craftspeople while presenting the Union Budget 2023-24 in Parliament. The newly-conceptualised Pradhan Mantri Vishwakarma Kaushal Samman (PM-VIKAS) scheme will enable the country’s artisans to improve the quality, scale, and reach of their products, integrating them with the Micro, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (MSME) value chain, Ms. Sitharaman said.
“For centuries, traditional artisans and craftspeople who worked with their hands using tools have brought renown to India,” she said, highlighting that they are generally referred to as ‘Vishwakarma’. Invoking the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat, Ms. Sitharaman said the art and handicrafts created by the Vishwakarma represent the true spirit of a self-reliant India.
The Minister highlighted some of the key components of the new scheme. These include:
- Financial support
- Access to advanced skill training
- Knowledge of modern digital techniques and efficient green technologies
- Brand promotion
- Linkage with local and global markets
- Digital payments
- Social security
Ms. Sitharman said that the PM-VIKAS scheme would greatly benefit women and people belonging to the weaker sections of society, including Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Castes.