Eight year wait for Handicrafts, Handloom trainees comes to end

In a bid to woo the younger generation towards the handicraft sector, the government of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has doubled the stipends for trainee craftsmen undergoing elementary and advanced training courses across J&K.

According to an order issued by the Commissioner Secretary, Industries and Commerce Department, MK Dwivedi, the rate of stipends has been enhanced to the trainees undergoing elementary and advanced training courses in training centres of the Handicrafts and Handloom departments.

The monthly stipend in Handicrafts sector has been enhanced from Rs 500/- to Rs 1000/- and from Rs 700/- to Rs 1500/- for elementary and advanced training courses respectively. Similarly in respect of Handloom training courses, the rate of monthly stipend has been increased from Rs 500/- to Rs 1000/- for ready-made garments (RMG) and weaving training courses.

According to the craftsmen and weavers, the enhancement of stipends will attract the younger generation towards this dying art. “Younger people prefer service sector to this art is an undeniable fact. But one thing is sure that if government encourages them like they did by enhancing stipends, more youngsters will be encouraged to learn this art,” said Muhammad Sadiq, a handicraft artisan.

The enhancement in stipend was long overdue after it was found that the meager stipend in this sector was failing to attract the target groups towards taking the craft activity as their profession. The enhancement will not only encourage the targeted audience but also will encourage the school drop outs to join the training centres in order to learn the skills for securing their future.

The move by the government is seen to infuse a fresh lease of enthusiasm and motivation among the trainees. Close to 13000 artisans and weavers of Jammu and Kashmir in the different crafts of Handicrafts and Handloom sector shall be benefited by this enhancement. It will further increase the level of competition among the youth to seek training in the training centers of the department and will encourage the traditional artisans and weavers to seek full time capacity building training, thereby helping them to become self reliant. The artisans/weavers would be able to produce more diversified products and become familiar with new ideas and motives after seeking skilled training in the relevant trades. The decision of the Govt regarding revision of rates of stipend has widely been appreciated by the trainees, which was their long pending demand.

Currently there are 369 and 179 Elementary and Advanced Training Centres in the Handicrafts sector and 99 Ready-Made Garments, Weaving and Kanicentres in the Handloom sector of Jammu and Kashmir providing training to unemployed youth in different trades/crafts. The enhancement in the stipend comes days after the Govt. conferred Padma and State Awards to GhulamRasool Khan and SajadHussain Dar in recognition of the role played in the promotion of Kashmir Handicrafts.

The enhancement in the stipend has been welcomed and has been termed as a historic move by the apex trade bodies. Appreciating the LG Administration, various associations concerned with the Kashmir Craft including TAHAFUZ have expressed their gratitude towards the ‘momentous decision taken’. This revision in the stipend has taken place after a long gap of 8 years.