STATE TIMES NEWSSRINAGAR: In a major relief to the artisans and weavers, the Government on Thursday notified two new schemes to provide fillip to the famed handicrafts and handloom sector in Jammu and Kashmir. The capital infusion shall provide much-needed financial support and credit facility to the traditional craft industry which has been adversely affected due to COVID-19 pandemic.In a first, the Government announced a new financial support scheme for Cooperatives/ SHGs registered in the Handicrafts and Handloom Department under the J&K Self Reliant Cooperative Act, 1999 by replacement of the existing Managerial Subsidy Scheme.Under the scheme, each Cooperative/ SHG shall be provided a one-time financial support of Rs.1.00 lakh in two equal installments of Rs.50,000/- each. The funds shall be transferred to the beneficiary Cooperative/ SHG through DBT mode only.An annual target of 2000 Cooperatives/ SHGs has been fixed for implementation in both rural and urban areas of the Union Territory.Under the Managerial Subsidy Scheme, each Cooperative was earlier provided only Rs.19,104/- over a period of three years and there had been no revision or enhancement in the subsidy since 1975.The Government also announced a new Credit Card Scheme for Artisans and Weavers of the Handicrafts and Handloom sector by subsuming the Credit Card Scheme for Artisans and Micro Credit Plan Scheme for Weavers in the erstwhile Handicrafts and Handloom Departments. Under the scheme, the loan slab has been enhanced from existing Rs.1.00 lakh to Rs.2.00 lakh with interest subsidy of 7% for a period of five years from the date of disbursement of the loan.All artisans and weavers who are duly registered with the Handicrafts and Handloom Department and are involved in production and manufacturing processes shall be eligible for credit facility under the scheme.The objective of the Scheme is to provide adequate and timely assistance to the artisan community from the financial institutions to meet their credit requirement of both investment needs as well as working capital in a flexible and cost-effective manner.The annual target under the scheme has been fixed at 5000 in J&K, with break-up of 4000 artisans in handicrafts and 1000 weavers in the handloom sector.Both the schemes have been notified on the recommendations made in the J&K Wool Processing, Handicrafts & Handloom Policy – 2020 which has been adopted vide Government Order No.54-IND of 2020, dated March 10, 2020. The operational guidelines have also been notified along with the schemes for hassle-free implementation.
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