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Nitin Gadkari kick-off ‘Khadi Agarbatti Aatmanirbhar Mission’

New Delhi: A unique employment generation programme “Khadi Agarbatti Aatmanirbhar Mission” has been launched to create employment for unemployed and migrant workers in different parts of the country while increasing domestic Agarbatti production substantially. 

The pilot project of the proposal, submitted to the Ministry of MSME for approval last month, will be launched soon and on full-fledged implementation of the project, thousands of jobs will be created in the Agarbatti (incense) industry.

The scheme, which has beeen approved by MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari to make India Aatmanirbhar in agarbatti production, is designed by KVIC on PPP mode and requires very less investment to create sustainable employment and help private agarbatti manufacturers to scale up agarbatti production without any capital investment by them. 

The programme aims at handholding artisans and supporting the local agarbatti industry. 

Currently consumption of agarbatti in the country is approximately 1,490 MT a day; however, India’s per day production of agarbatti is just 760 MT showing a huge gap between the demand and supply and hence, immense scope for job creation, an official release here said.

Under the scheme, KVIC will provide automatic agarbatti making machines and powder mixing machines to the artisans through the successful private agarbatti manufacturers who will sign the agreement as business partners. KVIC has decided to procure only locally made machines by Indian manufacturers which also aims at encouraging local production. 

KVIC will provide 25 per cent subsidy on the cost of the machines and will recover the remaining 75 per cent of the cost from the artisans in easy installments every month. The business partner will provide the raw material to the artisans for making agarbatti and will pay them wages on job work basis. 

Cost of artisans’ training will be shared between KVIC and the private business partner wherein KVIC will bear 75 percent of the cost while 25 per cent will be paid by the business partner.

Each automatic agarbatti making machine makes approximately 80 kg agarbatti per day which will provide direct employment to 4 persons. One powder mixing machine, to be given on a set on five agarbatti making machines, will provide employment to two persons.

The current job work rate for agarbatti making is Rs 15 per kg. At this rate, four artisans working on one automatic agarbatti machine will earn minimum Rs 1,200 a day by making 80 kg of incense. Hence every artisan will earn at least Rs 300 a day. Similarly, on powder mixing machine, each artisan will get a fixed amount of Rs 250 per day.

As per the scheme, the wages to the artisans will be provided by the business partners on weekly basis directly in their accounts through DBT only. Supply of raw material to the artisans, logistics, quality control and marketing of the final product will be the sole responsibility of the business partner. After recovery of the 75 per cent cost, the ownership of the machines will automatically be transferred to the artisans.

A two-party agreement to this effect will be signed between KVIC and the private agarbatti manufacturer for successful running of the project on PPP mode.

The scheme has been designed in wake of the two major decisions – import restriction on raw agarbatti and increase in import duty on bamboo sticks – taken by the Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Finance respectively on the initiative of Mr Gadkari.

KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena said the two decisions of the Central Government created a huge employment opportunity in the agarbatti industry. “In order to encash the huge employment generation opportunity, the KVIC designed a programme namely “Khadi Agarbatti Aatmanirbhar Mission” and submitted to the Ministry of MSME for approval,” Saxena said.

Savio Rodrigues

Savio Rodrigues Founder & Editor-in-Chief GoaChronicle.com

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