Committed to helping artisans, says PM; unveils ₹13,000-crore scheme

It offers collateral-free enterprise development loans at a concessional interest rate in two tranches of ₹1 lakh and ₹2 lakh, respectively; PM inaugurates the first phase of India International Convention and Expo Centre, named Yashobhoomi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said his government was committed to the uplift of artisans and craftspeople, and that the ₹13,000-crore Pradhan Mantri Vishwakarma Yojana (PMVY), launched on Sunday, would equip craftspeople with the technology to augment their skills for the modern market.

Mr. Modi also inaugurated the first phase of the ₹5,400-crore state-of-the-art India International Convention and Expo Centre, named Yashobhoomi, at Dwarka in New Delhi.

“Today, I dedicate ‘Yashobhoomi’ to every labourer, every ‘Vishwakarma’ of the nation,” Mr. Modi said. “We are living at a time when there is such a government in the country that provides recognition and help to marginalised people,” he added.

Mr. Modi also unveiled 18 customised stamp sheets showcasing the 18 traditional trades covered by the scheme, along with a toolkit e-booklet on the occasion.

The scheme

The Vishwakarma scheme aims to enhance the accessibility and quality of products and services offered by traditional artisans and craftsmen.

The scheme offers collateral-free enterprise development loans of ₹1 lakh (first tranche to be repaid in 18 months) and ₹2 lakh (second tranche to be repaid in 30 months). A concessional rate of interest of 5% will be charged from the beneficiary, with interest subvention cap of 8% to be paid by the Ministry of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises. The credit guarantee fees will be borne by the Union government.

Stressing the government’s vision of ‘Vocal for local’, Mr. Modi also asked people to purchase local products for the forthcoming festivals, including Ganesh Chaturthi, Dhanteras, and Deepavali.

Speaking of Yashobhoomi, Mr. Modi said the conference tourism sector, estimated at ₹25 lakh crore, presented a huge opportunity for India.

MICE facility

With a total project area of over 8.9 lakh square metres, and built-up area of more than 1.8 lakh square metres, Yashobhoomi will find its place among the world’s largest MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) facilities, he said.

“Through the Yashobhoomi convention centre alone, lakhs of youth are expected to secure employment opportunities,” he said.

Yashobhoomi will also be connected to the Delhi Airport Metro Express line, with the inauguration of a new metro station, the ‘Yashobhoomi Dwarka Sector 25’.

Before the inauguration, Mr. Modi took a metro ride from the Dhaula Kuan station to the newly built station. During the ride, many passengers interacted with the Prime Minister and snapped selfies with him.