Union Minister of State Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Saturday, November 27, 2021, launched a pilot project to revive and promote traditional 'Namda' craft in Jammu and Kashmir and said that efforts are afoot to increase the carpet export from ₹600 crore to ₹6,000 crore.
The Union Minister of State for Skill Development, Entrepreneurship, Electronics and Information Technology launched two ambitious projects of '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', an official spokesman said.
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, he said.
The Namda project will benefit 2,250 people of 30 Namda Clusters from six 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, he said.
Namda 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 per cent 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 programme 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, the spokesman said.
Launching the initiative, Mr. Chandrasekhar said India has a rich heritage and is home to several traditional art forms.
"It is an article of faith for the Narendra 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,” he said.
The Minister said when he travelled to Jammu and Kashmir, the people 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 ₹6,000 crore and create employment for eight lakh people,” he said.
He said 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 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,” he said.
After his visit to Nagaland and Jammu and Kashmir last month, Chandrasekhar 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.