Minister flags off first batch of Kashmir’s Namda artworks for UK export

Minister Chandrasekhar initiated Namda project following his J&K visit in 2021

NEW DELHI | Updated: 15 July, 2023 6:20 pm IST
Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar at the flagging off event in New Delhi on Saturday.

NEW DELHI: Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Saturday flagged off the inaugural shipment of Kashmir iconic Namda Art products for export to the United Kingdom (UK).

Chandrasekhar, the Union minister of state for skill development and entrepreneurship and electronics and IT, said that the remarkable achievement comes as a result of the successful revival of the dying Namda art of Kashmir, accomplished through Skill India’s Pilot Project under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY).

Nearly 2,200 candidates from six districts of the state received comprehensive training in the intricate art form of Namda craft, safeguarding a significant milestone in preserving this traditional craft and empowering local weavers and artisans. The trained individuals hail from Srinagar, Baramulla, Ganderbal, Bandipora, Budgam, and Anantnag districts of Kashmir.

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During his visit to Jammu and Kashmir in 2021, minister Chandrasekhar recognized the urgent need to conserve and revive dying traditional crafts in the region, given the handicrafts sector’s substantial contribution to the local economy and employment generation. Consequently, he initiated the Namda project.

Expressing his congratulations on this achievement, he stated, “It is immensely gratifying to witness an outcome that perfectly aligns with our prime minister’s vision of ‘Naya Bharat, Naye Avsar, Nayi Samridhi,’ which emphasizes that skilling is about creating new opportunities and new prosperities.”

“As a small part of this extensive effort undertaken by the artisans and the Handicrafts Sector Skill Council, I extend my best wishes for the tremendous success and prosperity of this art. It is indeed a proud moment for us to achieve this milestone,” he said.

He further added, “The Namda Project exemplifies an extremely gratifying and defining outcome of PM Narendra Modi’s vision for Skill India, which aims to empower people and create opportunities.”

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Namda craft involves the felting technique using sheep wool to create rugs, deviating from the traditional weaving process. Unfortunately, between 1998 and 2008, the export of this craft declined by nearly 100% due to limited availability of raw materials, a lack of skilled manpower, and inadequate marketing techniques.

A statement from the ministry affirmed, “The government’s commitment to skilling, reskilling, and upskilling India’s youth remains unwavering. The successful implementation of this pilot project in J&K, with the support of local industry partners such as Mir Handicrafts and Srinagar Carpet Training and Market Centre, exemplifies the power of public-private partnerships in driving skill development and attracting investments for economic development.”

The Namda project serves as an industry-based training program, benefitting artisans involved in Namda Crafts Production and contributing to the preservation and revival of the rich heritage associated with Namda craft in Kashmir. Its primary objective is to enhance the accessibility of existing artisans in the Namda crafts cluster in Kashmir, ultimately improving their employment prospects.

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