MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari has approved an employment generation program proposed by Khadi and Village Industries Commission to make India self-reliant in incense stick production.
The program named ‘Khadi incense stick Aatmanirbhar Mission’ aims at creating employment for unemployed and migrant workers in different parts of the country while increasing domestic incense stick production substantially, the MSME Ministry said.
“The proposal was submitted to the Ministry of MSME for approval last month. The pilot project will be launched soon and on full-fledged implementation of the project, thousands of jobs will be created in the incense stick industry,” the ministry said.
The program aims at handholding artisans and supporting the local incense stick industry. The current consumption of incense sticks in the country is approximately 1,490 MT per day but local production is just 760 MT.
There is a huge gap between the demand and the supply and hence, immense scope for job creation said the ministry.
Under the scheme, KVIC will provide automatic incense stick making machines and powder mixing machines to the artisans through the successful private incense stick manufacturers who will sign the agreement as business partners.
KVIC has decided to procure only locally-made machines by Indian manufacturers.
The Centre earlier took two major decisions by placing the incense stick item from free trade to ‘restricted’ trade in the import policy and enhancing the import duty from 10 percent to 25 percent on ’round bamboo sticks’ used for manufacturing of incense stick for the benefit of the domestic industry.
KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena said the two decisions of the central government created a huge employment opportunity in the incense stick industry. “To encash the huge employment generation opportunity, the KVIC designed a program namely ‘Khadi incense stick Aatmanirbhar Mission’ and submitted to the Ministry of MSME for approval, Saxena said.
KVIC will provide a 25 percent subsidy on the cost of the machines and recover the remaining 75 percent of the cost from the artisans in easy installments every month. Under the scheme, the business partner will provide raw material to artisans for making incense sticks and pay them wages on a job work basis.
“Each automatic incense stick-making machine makes approximately 80 kg incense stick per day which will provide direct employment to four persons. One powder mixing machine, to be given on a set on five incense stick making machines, will provide employment to two persons,” the MSME Ministry said.
The cost of artisans’ training will be shared between KVIC and the private business partner wherein the Commission will bear 75 percent of the cost while 25 percent will be paid by the business partner.
The wages to the artisans will be provided by the business partners every week directly in their accounts through direct benefit transfer only.