Noble intentions – PM Vishwakarma Scheme: A Step Towards Empowering Traditional Artisans and Craftspersons | 18 August 2023 | UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis

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What's the article about?

  • It talks about the recently launched scheme, PM Vishwakarma, by the Union government on Independence Day.


  • GS2: Welfare Schemes for Vulnerable Sections of the population by the Centre and States and the Performance of these Schemes;
  • GS3: Indian Economy;
  • Prelims


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Independence Day speech announced a new scheme, PM Vishwakarma, to provide financial support to traditional craftspeople and artisans.
  • It has an outlay of ₹13,000 crore.  It offers loans of up to ₹3 lakh in two tranches at a concessional interest rate of 5%.
  • The scheme covers individuals from 18 trades, including cobblers, toy makers, laundrymen, barbers, masons, and coir weavers.
  • The government expects to cover about five lakh families in the first year and benefit 30 lakh families over five years.

Challenges Faced by Traditional Artisans and Craftspersons:

  • Lack of Access to Mainstream Markets:
    • Artisans often lack access to mainstream markets. They don’t have access or contacts with suppliers of raw materials, as they deal mainly with middlemen.
    • This puts them at a disadvantage as it is important to know various suppliers in order to negotiate the most appropriate price and quality.
    • These artisans have limited marketing and export avenues and linkages.
    • They lack access to foreign markets and rely on local melas or exhibitions, which are also lacking in number.
  • Financial Shortages:
    • Artisans are faced with acute financial shortages which make it hard for them to acquire equipment and raw material of the requisite quality.
    • They are unable to give export quality finish to their products according to international market standards.
    • It is also difficult for them to expand their business as they cannot get loans from local banks. This is because they cannot guarantee re-payment.
  • Lack of Innovation in Designs as per Time:
    • Artisans lack innovation in designs. They don’t have sufficient knowledge of modern designs which can be marketed easily. As a result, they are unable to meet the demands of the market.
  • Lack of Education and Low Productivity:
    • The sector’s informal nature and the low education of most artisans create issues such as low productivity.
    • Due to their rural orientation, artisans are often unable to access training and technology to supply their products to online markets.
  • Lack of Market Linkages:
    • While consumers of crafts products are increasingly becoming urbanized, crafts continue to be sold through local markets.
    • Artisans have few opportunities to reach new consumers through relevant retail platforms such as department stores and shopping malls.
    • Further, due to their rural orientation, artisans are often unable to access training and technology to supply their products to online markets.
  • Globalization:
    • Globalization poses significant challenges to the survival of traditional forms of craftsmanship.
    • Mass production, whether on the level of large multinational corporations or local cottage industries, can often supply goods needed for daily life at a lower cost, both in terms of currency and time, than hand production. Many craftspeople struggle to adapt to this competition.


  • Challenges Faced by Artisans:
    • Lack of patronage for goods and services in the wider marketplace:
      • While the PM Vishwakarma scheme aims to provide economic support to craftspeople and artisans, it may not address the underlying challenges they face.
      • The lack of access to formal credit is just a symptom of the fundamental problem these communities face.
      • The biggest challenge for traditional art and craft professionals is the lack of patronage for their goods and services in the wider marketplace.
    • Undervaluation of economic output in some trades:
      • Additionally, some trades face undervaluation of their economic output.
  • Risks and Unintended Consequences:
    • Loans without addressing the lack of economic viability may lead to deeper debt:
      • The scheme's support to struggling artisanal communities may come with its own risks and unintended consequences.
      • Merely extending loans without addressing the lack of economic viability for their output could leave the beneficiaries and their families deeper in debt.
    • Inter-generational involvement in low-paying trades and potential reinforcement of caste-based limitations:
      • Moreover, if the scheme emphasizes the intergenerational nature of knowledge dissemination, it may perpetuate the next generation's involvement in low-paying trades, potentially reinforcing caste-based limitations.
  • Skilling Programs and Implementation:
    • The Vishwakarma scheme includes skilling programs that offer a nominal stipend and financial assistance to purchase modern tools.
    • However, the success of the scheme will depend on its implementation.
    • To ensure effective implementation, the government should involve professionals with the necessary know-how and entrepreneurial flair to help craftspeople and artisans upgrade their offerings and tap into new markets.

Way Forward:

  • Overall, while the PM Vishwakarma scheme provides financial support to traditional craftspeople and artisans, it is important to address the deeper challenges they face and ensure that the scheme's implementation leads to sustainable economic viability and opportunities for these communities.

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