PM Vishwakarma scheme
Professionals may benefit economically from the PM Vishwakarma scheme, which was approved by the Cabinet and supports traditional handicrafts and artisans. The scheme, with a budget of 13,000 crore, was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Independence Day speech.
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It offers loans of up to 3 lakh rupees (in two instalments) at a 5% concessional interest rate. It includes people from 18 different vocations, including masons, coir weavers, laundrymen, barbers, and toy manufacturers. The government anticipates that 30 lakh families will benefit from the programme over a five-year period and that around 5 lakh families will be covered in the first year.
The difficulties they encounter go far beyond the lack of expensive loans. The primary problem that traditional artists and craftspeople encounter is either a general lack of demand for their products and services or, in the case of other trades, an unfair underestimation of their economic productivity.
The programme runs the risk of further indulging not just the intended beneficiaries but also their families in debt if it fails to build up new markets and instead just provides loans to these communities in the name of increasing their wellbeing.
However, by emphasising the intergenerational nature of knowledge transfer in these communities, the programme may wind up trapping the following generation indefinitely in these traditional low-paying crafts, many of which are practised in a caste-bound environment.
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