The Ministry of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) this week launched a programme for the benefit of artisans involved in the manufacturing of Agarbatti and to develop village industry under 'Gramodyog Vikas Yojana.'
As per the programme, initially, four pilot projects will be started, including one in the North-Eastern part of the country. Each targeted cluster of artisans will be supported with about 50 Automatic Agarbatti making machines and 10 Mixing machines. Accordingly, a total of 200 Automatic Agarbatti making machines and 40 Mixing machines will be provided to the artisans.
In a statement on the announcement, the ministry said that after placing the 'Agarbatti' 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 Agarbatti, the latest announcement by the government will help to boost the indigenous production of 'Agarbatti'and will pave the way to generate rural employment.
"This will also start the process of mitigating the gap between the indigenous 'production and demand' and will reduce import of 'Agarbatti' in the country".
Further, Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), that works under the MSME ministry will provide training, and assist artisans working in this area, with Agarbatti manufacturing machines. KVIC will tie-up with Khadi institutions / Agarbatti manufacturers in the country, having a good track record, to provide work and raw material to 'Agarbatti making artisans'.
"The program will act as a catalyst in reviving the Agarbatti manufacturing in the villages and small towns and will immediately generate a minimum of about 500 additional jobs," the ministry statement said on Friday.