Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought cheer to eastern Uttar Pradesh’s weavers on Friday by announcing a huge financial aid to boost the textile industry, while outlining his broader vision of achieving equal development for the whole country.
Addressing over 2,000 people at Varanasi, a city from where he won the Lok Sabha election with a thumping majority, Modi announced a Rs 2,375-crore package for 16 sick cooperative banks to make loans easily available for the region’s weavers.
“Every mother has a dream to gift at least one Benarasi saree to her daughter in marriage and about 20 crore marriages take place in the country every year,” he said after laying the foundation stone of a trade facilitation centre and crafts museum for weavers.
“It needs no marketing. You have to just tap the huge market already available across the country.”
The Rs 150-crore centre, expected to come up in 18 months, is at Lalpur on the outskirts of the city.
“Our artisans will be provided training here, near their own city, in modern designing methods, marketing strategies and all the skills that may be necessary for them to remain competitive and responsive to the requirements of a modern consumer,” he said in his first visit to the holy city after becoming Prime Minister.
Stressing his resolve to bring the eastern part of the country on par with western India, he said the current imbalance made the country like a person “whose one hand is strong and the other one is crippled”.
“It is for this reason I came to this glorious city of eastern UP and our intention is to economically revitalise the entire eastern region, which includes states like Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha and Assam,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister said the textile industry was the most employment-generating industry in the country after agriculture and spoke about the importance of scientific training.
“Upgrading is necessary so that the new generation takes up this profession (weaving) willingly and not as a compulsion,” Modi said.
The PM also talked about the importance of the Jan Dhan Yojana, a project that provides a bank account for every family.
“Now, any financial assistance for weavers will be directly transferred into their bank accounts,” he said.
Before his speech, the Prime Minister went to a display of Benarasi sarees and the famed Bhadohi-Mirzapur carpets where he talked with artisans about the various processes involved in making the clothes.
(With agency inputs)