Union Minister for MSME & Road Transport & Highways, Nitin Gadkari this evening inaugurated 50 artisan-based SFURTI clusters, spread over 18 States. In the 50 clusters inaugurated today, over 42,000 artisans have been supported in the traditional segments of muslin, khadi, coir, handicraft, handlooms, woodcraft, leather, pottery, carpet weaving, bamboo, agro-processing, tea, etc. The Ministry of MSME, Govt. of India has funded an amount of around Rs.85 crore for the development of these 50 clusters. The Ministry of MSME is implementing a Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI) with a view to organizing traditional industries and artisans into clusters to make them competitive and increase their income.
Inaugurating the clusters, Gadkari said more research needs to be done on what kind of village products are required by the consumers, and how to attractively design and market these products. He suggested that the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad may be approached to improve the design and attractiveness of traditional products. A web portal is also required, on the lines of Amazon or Alibaba, to market these products effectively, both in India and abroad, he added.
The Minister also pointed out the need to step up the pace of formation of such clusters, since only 82 of the 371 announced so far are actually functional, and said a target of 5,000 clusters is easily achievable if red-tape can be reduced.
The clusters were inaugurated in presence of Minister of State, MSME, Pratap Chandra Sarangi, Secretary MSME, B.B. Swain, Members of Parliament, local MLAs, and senior officers of the Ministry of MSME.
Minister of State, MSME, Sarangi said the formation of the clusters builds the confidence of traditional craftsmen, and it is part of the government’s strategy of keeping villages at the core of the economic policy.
These clusters have been inaugurated in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Nagaland, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal
As of date, there are 371 numbers of Clusters which have are being funded by the Ministry, supporting 2.18 lakh artisans with total Government assistance of Rs. 888 cr. More than Rs.708 crore has been the budgetary allocation under the scheme, of which more than Rs.567 crore has been released for the implementation of the scheme so far. These clusters are spread all over the country covering 248 districts. The Ministry aims to support at least 1 cluster in each district in the coming period.
SFURTI clusters are of two types i.e., Regular Cluster (500 artisans) with Government assistance of up to Rs.2.5 crore and Major Cluster (more than 500 artisans) with Government assistance up to Rs.5 crore. The artisans are organized into SPVs which can be (i) a Society registered under Societies (Registration) Act, 1860, (ii) a Co-operative Society under an appropriate statute, (iii) a Producer Company under Section 465 (1) of Companies Act, 2013 (18 of 2013), (iv) a Section 8 Company under the Companies Act, 2013 (18 of 2013) or (v) a Trust.
Under the Scheme, the Ministry supports various interventions including setting up of infrastructure through Common Facility Centers (CFCs), procurement of new machinery, creating raw material banks, design intervention, improved packaging, improvement of marketing Infrastructure, improved skills, and capacity development through training and exposure visits, etc. Besides, the scheme focuses on strengthening the cluster governance systems with the active participation of the stakeholders, so that they are able to gauge the emerging challenges and opportunities and respond to them through building innovative and traditional skills, improved technologies, advanced processes, market intelligence, and new models of public-private partnerships, so as to gradually replicate similar models of cluster-based traditional Industries.