The Indian government has launched the Vishwakarma scheme, a new central scheme aimed at providing support to local craftsmen and artisans. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that eligible artisans will be identified through a three-layer verification process conducted by gram panchayats, district collectors, and state-appointed committees. The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) will also provide skilling camps and toolkits, as well as facilitate access to domestic and international markets for the products of these artisans. Recipients of the scheme will receive collateral-free loans from the MSME ministry.
The Vishwakarma scheme has an outlay of ₹13,000 crore until FY 2028. Its objective is to recognize and empower traditional artisans and craftspeople, providing them with Vishwakarma certificates, ID cards, and collateral-free loans. The scheme also offers training and support in accessing markets. Once the verification process is completed, the government will finalize the list of recipients, who will be given credit support of up to ₹1 lakh in the first tranche and ₹2 lakh in the second tranche. The loans will have a concessional interest rate of 5%, and the first tranche will need to be repaid within 18 months.
In addition to financial support, recipients of the scheme will also receive a daily stipend of ₹500 during the five-day skilling camps. They will be provided with a toolkit that includes digital currency features and access to the government’s e-marketplace. The aim of the scheme, according to Sitharaman, is to reach those who have never received assistance from institutional sources, ultimately benefiting the economy through their contributions.
Craftsmen and artisans eligible for the scheme include carpenters, boatmakers, blacksmiths, hammer and toolkit makers, locksmiths, goldsmiths, potters, stone sculptors, stone breakers, cobblers, masons, basket/mat/broom makers, coil makers, traditional doll and toy makers, garland makers, washermen, tailors, and fishnet makers. The Vishwakarma scheme was cleared by the union cabinet in August and is part of a series of programs introduced by the government in preparation for the upcoming general elections.
– Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME)
– Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman