Srinagar: Around four lakh artisans have been found eligible to become beneficiaries under various government schemes in Jammu and Kashmir.
This has come to the fore after the government completed first-ever digital census of artisans in Jammu and Kashmir.
Kashmir Carpets and Kani Shawls, and Papier machie are known for their exquisite designs and intricate workmanship. Over the period of time, world-class masterpieces have been created particularly during the Mughal-Afghan and Sikh-Dogra period. Some of these masterpieces are displayed in renowned museums across the world. However, the artisans said they are getting peanuts for their work.
Dr Gagan Deep Kaur, from Laurentian University Canada, who has done extensive research on Kashmiri carpets told a local news gathering agency, “The carpet industry is in decline due to extremely poor wages to the artisans, their lesser access to the market to sell their product and occupation of the market by a few sellers only. Lesser wages compel artisans to leave this profession and no access to market cause whatever artisans left to sell their product at cheaper rates to the middleman or bigger sellers who virtually occupy the market currently. Consistent wage policies, expansion in local demand and access to market is required to remedy this situation.”
While for upliftment of artisans, Jammu and Kashmir government conducted first-ever digital cencus where it was found that four lakh artisans are eligible to get benefit of various government sponsored schemes.
Jammu and Kashmir administration has launched many schemes including Karkhandar, Self Help Groups, and Artisan Credit Card to financially assist the artisans. Under the Artisan/Weaver Credit Card Scheme, 723 cases were sponsored last year. An amount of Rs. 650.74 Lakh was sanctioned for artisans.
Director Handicrafts and Handloom Kashmir Mahmood Ahmad Shah said there are various schemes for upliftment of artisans in the valley.
“We are also making societies where the government provides financial assistance to artisans including carpet weavers. Last year the government gave financial assistance of Rs 10 crore to artisans. Similarly, the government also provides financial assistance to children of artisans,” he added. (KINS)