For the next edition of the Garib Kalyan Mela, organised by the state government, the Cottage & Rural Industries Department has halved the number of trades — from around 60 to nearly 30 — for which people get self employment kits. Sources said that department took the decision to strike out duplication of certain trades. The list has been reduced also because some trades, like umbrella repairing, have become obsolete or left with very few practitioners, they said. However, the budget of the Cottage & Rural Industries Department for the mela is likely to be tripled with plans to give modern, costly tool to the beneficiaries.
“The number has gone down because we have reduced many trades which were similar to each other. For example, people who move and sell bakery items, ice candy, ice cream, fruit juice etc, used to get cycles from the government at Garib Kalyan Mela. They were earlier treated as separate categories. Now, all these have been put in one category. Similarly, some trades have been struck off from the list because there are not many people who are practising it… For example, a few people now sell datan (toothbrushes made from twigs of babool or neem trees). Last year, we had only two to three datan sellers. Similarly, the trade of umbrella repairing is no more relevant since people don’t get their umbrellas repaired. They instead get a new one. So, we have removed such trades from the list,” said a senior government official of the Cottage & Rural Industries Department.
The new list of trades, which has been reportedly okayed by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, consist of “trades that are widely practised”. “They will be getting modern and costly kits during the upcoming mela. Chief Minister is of the opinion that instead of giving routine tools, which the tradesmen can get on their own, the government should give some modern tools to them. So, accordingly, we are planning to get modern tool kits,” said another government officer. “For example, masons will get new modern electric vibrator to settle RCC material instead of routine tools which the mason can buy on his own. Similarly, for vehicle tyre puncture kit, we will be giving them modern electronic puncture kit,” the officer added.
Earlier, the tradesmen used to get kits, priced between Rs 8,000 and 12,000. But, now the government is planning to increase the rate of the kits up to Rs 20,000. Sources said that the budget of kits provided by the Cottage & Rural Development Department is likely to increase from Rs 100 crore to Rs 300 crore.
Introduced in 2009, the Garib Kalyan Mela is a brainchild of the then chief minister Narendra Modi. During the mela, held at different locations across the state, poor people are given benefits of various government schemes. Various government departments take part in the mela, including Social Justice & Empowerment Department, Tribal Welfare Department and Women & Child Development Department. So far, the government has organised nine editions of the fair. Last year, the melas were organised at 105 places with the government distributing benefits worth Rs 3,864 crore.
The government is planning to hold the next Garib Kalyan Mela in November or December ahead of Lok Sabha elections.