Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency Varanasi is set to get another central project — Upgrading Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development (USTAD).
The project, which will cater to weavers and other artisans, will be executed by the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs. Union Minority Affairs Najma Heptullah and MoS Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi will visit Varanasi on May 14 to launch the programme.
Varanasi has a large population of Muslims and most among them are engaged in weaving and other crafts. Officials said USTAD will provide skill development and better marketing strategies to weavers and artisans of traditional crafts like wooden lacquerware and toys and Banaras Gulabi Meenakari.
A team of senior ministry officials reached Varanasi on Friday to review preparations for the event. On May 14, USTAD will be launched following a seminar at Cultural Complex in Chauka Ghat for weavers and artisans. Around 40 experts on traditional arts and crafts and marketing have been invited to address the seminar. They will guide the artisans about latest technologies available.
Delhi based ACCESS Development Services has been engaged to organise the seminar. It has been working with the the Minority Affairs Ministry for skill development of weavers and artisans in the country. It’s CEO Vipin Sharma said around 1,500 weavers and artisans will take part in the event.
“The department has a list of registered master trainers for weaving and other crafts… These master trainers will be trained by NGOs under USTAD about the latest technologies and marketing strategies so that they in turn can train young artisans,” said Varanasi Assistant Director (Handicrafts) Nitesh Dhawan.
He added that Varanasi has the largest number of weavers in UP. “Around 37,000 families, nearly all Muslims, are engaged in weaving work. Banarasi Saree is their main product, which has got Geographical Indication (GI) tag,” said Dhawan.
In November last year, Modi had laid the foundation stone of a trade facilitation centre and craft museumin Varanasi.