Thiruvananthapuram: In a big support to the handicrafts sector, the Kerala Government has decided to steeply increase the capital fund and working capital assistance for setting up micro ventures after a decade, Minister for Law, Industries and Coir P. Rajeeve has announced.
Rajeeve revealed the decision while addressing a function held here for distributing the State Handicrafts Awards 2021, instituted by the Department of Industries and Commerce (DIC), Government of Kerala. Principal Secretary (Industries), Suman Billa, IAS, presided over the function.
The Minister said the capital fund with a ceiling of Rs two lakhs for establishing micro ventures in the handicrafts sector will go up to Rs three lakhs for the general category. For the special categories like SC/ST, it will be increased from the current Rs three lakhs to Rs 4.5 lakhs.
Rajeeve said the working capital assistance for general category in handicrafts sector will be hiked from the maximum Rs two lakhs to Rs five lakhs while it will be Rs 7.5 lakhs for the special category from the current Rs three lakhs.
“From next year onwards, Entrepreneurship Awards will be given to the best industrial cooperative societies of the state. The industrial cooperative societies that are in crisis in the past six months will get a financial aid of Rs five lakhs to buy equipment. They will also get a working capital of Rs three lakhs as revolving fund,” the Minister informed.
He said handicrafts sector needs to go a long way as good opportunities are emerging in the Tourism sector in Kerala.
Rajeeve gave away awards to seven handicrafts experts and six others were given merit certificates in various categories.
Emphasising the importance of handicrafts in the tourism sector, Suman Billa said the skills of the craftspersons should be leveraged in the best possible manner for creating economic avenues for their products. He said for sustainability in the sector, products should have aesthetic designs and innovation without losing authenticity.
KSIDC Managing Director and Director of Industries & Commerce, S. Harikishore, IAS, was also present.
Officer on Special Duty, Industries, Ms Anie Jula Thomas, IAS; Director, Handloom Vastra Directorate, Anil Kumar K.S; Asst. Director, Development Commissioner (Handicrafts) Office, Lenin Raj K R; Additional Directors, Industries, G Rajeev and Dr. K S Kripakumar also spoke.
The awards were given in seven categories including sculptures made of wood, natural fibres, bamboo, rattan, metal and coconut shell and sewing paintings using chord and kasavu, and artifacts made of various materials other than the above-mentioned things.
The state award winners were Kamalasanan N from Thiruvananthapuram (wooden sculptures); A Prathap from Thiruvananthapuram (sculptures made of natural fibres); Surendran K K from Thrissur (artifacts made of bamboo and rattan); Jayakumari M L from Thiruvananthapuram (sewing painting); Rajendran T V from Kannur (metal sculptures); Murali K V from Thiruvananthapuram (coconut shell artifacts); and A K Arun from Kozhikode (various artifacts). The State Award comprises a cash prize of Rs 50,000, besides citation and a plaque.
Merit certificate winners: Sasidharan P A from Ernakulam (wooden sculptures); Babu K from Kollam (sculptures made of natural fibres); Sony Remesh from Ernakulam (artifacts made of bamboo and rattan); Vasudevan Chethil from Kozhikode (metal sculptures); G S Chanthu Nair from Thiruvananthapuram (coconut shell artifacts) and Remesan M K from Kozhikode (various artifacts). The award consists of Rs 10,000, citation and a plaque.
Instituted in 2015-16 to honour the best contributions in the handicrafts sector, the State Handicrafts Awards were not distributed during 2019-20 due to the pandemic.