PM opens Yashobhoomi, 13k-cr plan for workers

By, New Delhi
Sep 17, 2023 11:52 PM IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the India International Convention and Expo Centre (IICC) and launched the PM Vishwakarma scheme to support traditional artisans and craftsmen. The scheme offers loans, training programs, and marketing support to workers engaged in traditional crafts. The goal is to enhance the accessibility and quality of products and services offered by traditional artisans. The PM also urged workers to buy tools made in India and encouraged conference tourism in India. The scheme has been seen as an attempt to woo the OBC communities ahead of elections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday pitched his government as a “partner of the Vishwakarmas” and inaugurated a state-of-the art India International Convention and Expo Centre (IICC) — Yashobhoomi — at Dwarka in southwest Delhi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the India International Convention and Expo Centre in New Delhi on Sunday. (HT Photo)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the India International Convention and Expo Centre in New Delhi on Sunday. (HT Photo)

The PM, on his birthday, also launched the 13,000 crore PM Vishwakarma scheme to offer monetary and logistical support to workers engaged in traditional crafts and skills.

“Today I dedicate Yashobhoomi to every labourer, every Vishwakarma of the nation,” he said inaugurating the first phase of the convention centre, built at the cost of 5,400 crore.

Underlining the contribution and importance of the Vishwakarmas in everyday life, the Prime Minister said that Vishwakarmas will always remain significant in society, no matter the advancements made in technology.

“It is the need of the hour that Vishwakarmas are recognised and supported,” he said at an event organised to mark Vishwakarma Jayanti, which coincides with his birthday.

“The government has come forward as a partner to elevate the respect, enhance the capabilities, and grow the prosperity of the Vishwakarmas,” he said.

His government at the Centre, Modi added, is one that prioritises the deprived. “Modi stands for those who have nobody to care about them,” he said, adding that he will ensure a “a life of dignity” for the people. “This is Modi’s guarantee,” he said.

The goal of the Vishwakarma scheme is to enhance the accessibility and quality of products and services offered by traditional artisans and craftsmen, broadly divided into 18 sections that include carpenters, blacksmiths, goldsmiths, sculptors, potters, cobblers, tailors, masons, hairdressers and washermen, among others.

The scheme offers collateral-free enterprise development loans of 1 lakh (first tranche for 18 months repayment) and 2 lakh (second tranche for 30 months repayment).

A concessional rate of interest of 5% will be charged from the beneficiary with interest subvention cap of 8% to be paid by the Union ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises. The credit guarantee fees will be borne by the central government.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the PM last month approved the scheme for a period of five years (FY 2023-24 to FY 2027-28), after he made an announcement on the same in his Independence Day address.

Sharing his experience while talking to artisans during his foreign visits, the Prime Minister said there is a growing demand for handmade products and big companies sub-let their work to small enterprises globally. “This outsourced work should come to our Vishwakarma friends, and they should become a part of the global supply chain, we are working for this. That is why this scheme is an effort to take the Vishwakarma friends into the modern age,” he said.

The PM said that the government will offer support to the workers in order to adapt and upskill themselves to face challenges posed by technological advancement.

For this, he said, the government will provide and allowance of 500 a day during the training programme and a toolkit voucher worth 15,000 in addition to help in branding, packaging and marketing their products.

With the announcement of the scheme, the PM reiterated his government’s push for encouraging locally manufactured product.

“Vocal for Local is the responsibility of the entire country,” the PM said.

The PM also urged workers to ensure they purchase tools that are Made in India and from stores that are GST registered.

He further said that conference tourism, estimated at 25 lakh crore, presents a huge opportunity for India. Yashobhoomi has the complete ecosystem for conferences and organising exhibitions, he said.

“The message from Yashobhoomi is loud and clear. Any event that takes place here will attain success and fame. Bharat Mandapam and Yashobhoomi Center are going to make Delhi the biggest hub of conference tourism,” he said as he extended an invitation to the film and TV industry to host their events at the centre.

“Today I invite people associated with the exhibition and event industry from countries around the world to come to Delhi. I will invite the film industry and TV industry of every region of the country, east-west-north-south. I invite people associated with international event companies, exhibition sector to join Bharat Mandapam and Yashobhoomi,” he said.

Bharat Mandapam, where the G20 Summit was recently held, and Yasobhoomi are a confluence of Indian culture, he said, and reflect the aspirations of the new India which desires the best facilities for itself.

“The Viksit Bharat of today is crafting a new identity for itself in every sector… India is not going to stop now,” he said and urged the citizens to keep going forward, creating new goals, striving for them and transforming India into a developed country by 2047.

“Our Vishwakarma colleagues are the pride of Make in India and this International Convention Center will become a medium to showcase this pride to the world,” he said.

Political commentators perceive the scheme as a sop for the OBC communities that the Bharatiya Janata Party has assiduously wooed and relied on for favourable outcome during the elections.

Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal, Dharmendra Pradhan, Narayan Rane, and Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma were present on the occasion.

Yashobhoomi will also be connected to Delhi Metro’s Airport Express line after the PM on Sunday inaugurated the new Metro station, Yashobhoomi Dwarka Sector 25.

Delhi Metro will also increase the operational speed of Metro trains on Airport Express Line from 90km/hour to 120km/hour, reducing travel time on the key line. The journey from New Delhi to Yashobhoomi Dwarka Sector 25 will take about 21 minutes.

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