On the occasion of the 125th Birth Anniversary of Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, the Ministry of Textiles has proposed an action plan to give fresh impetus to measures for the welfare and development of weavers, artisans, jute workers, sericulture workers, entrepreneurs and others in the textile sector, belonging to the Scheduled Caste (SC) category.
The Ministry of Textile has formulated a clear strategy and action plan for the same, with a budget allocation of Rs. 167.5 crore for the current financial year.
The Ministry also provided a sector-wise synopsis of the initiatives that the Ministry is to undertake.
A special scheme for SC beneficiaries has been prepared for FY 2016-'17, at a total cost of Rs 24 crore. The scheme covers all important beneficiary-oriented activities across the silk production chain, involving both Central Silk Board and Department of Sericulture for implementation.
The scheme will cover around 1000 SC families in the states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, J&K, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
SC Weavers to get higher subsidy for Powerloom upgradation under modified Scheme
The guidelines for In-Situ Upgradation Scheme for Plain Powerlooms have been modified.
Weavers will receive differentiated and enhanced subsidy under the new scheme. The Government of India will provide financial assistance to the extent of 75% of the cost of upgradation, up to a maximum subsidy of Rs. 60,000 per loom, for attachment with rapier kit. The new scheme has come into effect, from April 1, 2016.
From now on, Premium-free Group Insurance Scheme for Powerloom Workers
Till now, SC weavers were required to pay Rs. 80 as his/her share of the premium, towards Group Insurance Scheme for Powerloom Workers. Government of India's share was Rs. 290/- per weaver, and Rs. 100/- has been paid from Social Security Fund of LIC.
The Government has now decided to bear the weaver's share completely, taking its share to Rs. 370/- per weaver, out of the total premium of Rs. 470/- per weaver.
Training and skill development of SC persons has been initiated by National Jute Manufacturers Corporation (NJMC), under ISDS. NJMC has now decided to train about 75% of its total manpower from the SC category.
SC category members working in jute mills will now receive additional subsidy for coverage of life insurance and accident insurance, by paying the premium under PMJJBY and PMSBY.
SC workers in jute mills will now have better housing facilities; a scheme for housing shall be formulated, with 50% subsidy being given by the Union Government.
The allocation for welfare of SC category in the handloom sector has been increased from Rs. 16.38 crore in FY 2015-'16 to Rs. 40 crore in FY 2016-'17.
Further, it has been decided to focus on providing marketing support to SC weavers, to enable them to participate in various handloom marketing events. Arrangements will be made for their travel, lodging and boarding.
It has been decided that block-level handloom clusters having at least 25% weavers in the SC category will be given preference, while sanctioning Central Government financial assistance. A letter in this regard has also been sent to all states and union territories, on 8th March, 2016.
The budget outlay for welfare of SC category artisans has been increased from Rs. 14.6 crore in FY 2015-'16 to Rs. 43 crore in FY 2016-'17.
The various welfare measures include: a higher stipend of Rs. 250 (from Rs. 150 earlier) to trainees undergoing training under HRD Scheme for Design and Technology Upgradation, a higher DA of Rs. 250 (from Rs. 150 earlier) and local conveyance allowance of Rs. 150 for participation in marketing activities, increase in freight allowance and free stall space at Dilli Haat.
In nutshell benefits SC weavers will receive:
- SC Weavers to get higher subsidy for Powerloom upgradation under modified Scheme
- From now on, Premium-free Group Insurance Scheme for Powerloom Workers
- SC Jute Mill workers to have better skilling, insurance and housing support
- 144.2% increase in allocation for welfare of SC weavers
- Allocation for welfare of SC handicraft artisans almost tripled
- Special Scheme for SC beneficiaries in silk sector