The Jammu and Kashmir government has issued credit cards to artisans with an aim to provide impetus to the state's handicraft handloom sectors.
About 70,000 artisans will be covered under the Artisans Credit Card (ACC) scheme during the current fiscal but presently only 3,000 artisans were given the cards.
Under the scheme, loans would be provided at a minimum interest rate of two per cent without any mortgage or guarantee.
Minister for industries and commerce SS Slathia said the state government had collaborated with the Jammu and Kashmir Bank for issuing the cards, which was aimed at uplifting their living standard of the people of the province.
"Today, we have issued 3,000 artisan cards to locals. The cards were distributed jointly by the bank and department of handicrafts, in which they can receive money by the bank under whichever scheme they want. They can get loan upto one lakh, they can get a loan of sixty thousand as well as ninety thousand. Women will be provided loans at an interest of two per cent and for men it is two and a half per cent," said Slathia.
About 40,000 modern looms would be provided to the artisans free of cost in the next five-year plan, which would give boost to handicrafts and handloom activities in the state.
Artisans said this step would help revive handicrafts sector and also reduce unemployment.
"The artisans have been motivated to take loan at a less rate of interest, so that they can develop and revive the handcrafts work. This will also help in reducing unemployment upto some extent," said an artisan, Manzooer Ahmad.
Kashmiri handicrafts are known throughout the world for their artistic work and magnificence and the hand-made items have become a traditional identity for the state.
The traditional and unique work of Kashmir art includes shawls, carpets, papier mache products, crewel, silk, copper utensils and walnut wood carving products.