Adopting a holistic approach and looking at the interest of stakeholders, the Ministry of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) has expanded the reach and support for the artisans involved in Agarbatti and the Agarbatti industry. For this, the Ministry has issued new guidelines on 4 September 2020.
After starting the support program for this industry on 30 July 2020, the ministry has focused not only on supplying machines for making incense sticks, but also on all aspects of the industry. These include ensuring supply and demand for inputs and raw materials. The demand for incense sticks has increased a lot in the last one year.
The four major pillars of the new program are –
i) continuous support to the artisans through training, raw materials, marketing and financial support;
ii) Working on all aspects of this product, such as innovations in fragrance and packaging, use of new/alternative raw materials, such as reuse of flowers, coir piths etc., the supply of bamboo in collaboration with Ministry of Agriculture. For this purpose the ‘Center of Excellence’ is being set up at FFDC (Center for Flower and Fragrance Development) Kannauj;
iii) Setting up 10 clusters at a total cost of Rs 50 crore with appropriate marketing arrangements under SFURTI (Scheme for the upliftment of traditional industries) of the Ministry of MSME. This is expected to provide permanent employment and better income to 5000 artisans;
iv) Strengthening machine manufacturing capacity in the country to achieve self-sufficiency and setting up ‘Center of Excellence’ and development of various products in collaboration with IITs / NITs at a cost of Rs 2.20 crore.
Under the program announced on 4 September, 400 automated Agarbatti making machines and an additional 500 pedal-powered machines will be distributed to ‘Self Help Groups (SHGs)’ and individuals through 20 pilot projects across the country and supply raw materials for them And proper marketing facility will also be ensured. This program will benefit about 1500 artisans immediately, they will get permanent employment and their income will increase. Under the program, priority will be given to artisans and migrant workers who make hand incense sticks.
To make the country self-sufficient in the region, the total size of the program has been increased to more than Rs 55 crore. About 1500 artisans will be given immediate support of a total of Rs 3.45 crore, two centers of excellence will be set up at IIT / NIT and FFDC, Kannauj at a cost of Rs 2.20 crore and 10 new SPURTI clusters will be constructed at a cost of about Rs 50 crore. , Which will benefit about 5000 artisans. The size of the first program was Rs 2.66 crore, which was expected to benefit around 500 artisans.
The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), a statutory organization under the Ministry of MSME, will implement the program and provide assistance to artisans and SHGs with appropriate linkage and necessary support.
These projects will promote Agarbatti industry and help in building indigenous capacity in all areas of Agarbatti manufacturing. This will increase exports and increase employment opportunities for artisans and entrepreneurs.