The Directorate of Handicrafts and Handloom Kashmir is providing a major impetus on bringing the registered artisans and weavers under the cooperative fold to protect interests of the artisans under Self-Reliant Act 1999.

There has been a huge surge in the formation of cooperatives during the last two years. In the year 2021-22 alone an amount of Rs. 900 Lakh has been disbursed to 1800 registered cooperatives (1499 Handicraft Cooperatives and 301 Handloom Cooperatives) benefitting about 2000 artisans. An amount of Rs. 719.50 Lakh and Rs. 180.50 Lakh has been disbursed to the registered cooperatives as the first and second instalment respectively. This is in addition to the interest subvention of Rs. 2.71 Crore disbursed under the Credit Card scheme for individual artisans/weavers.

The figures of registered cooperatives have seen manifold increase in almost all the practising crafts with majority in Sozni, Crewel, Carpet and Pashmina. During the year 2020-21 a total of 1141 cooperatives were registered with the department of Handicrafts and Handloom Kashmir with 960 and 181 from Handicrafts and Handloom sector respectively.

Director Handicrafts and Handloom Kashmir has been following to ensure providing of doorstep assistance in forming the cooperative societies with minimum paper work. During the year 2021-22 a total of 1417 cooperatives were registered, 1193 and 224 from Handicrafts and Handloom sector respectively. He said the department intents to create ownership by those who use its services, the control of which rests equally with all the members in a voluntary and democratic manner. The objective of cooperation is that isolated and powerless individuals can, by combining with one another, achieve advantages available to the rich and the powerful so that they may advance not only materially but also morally.

The Department of Handicrafts & Handloom is committed to connecting the registered artisans and weavers to form Cooperatives in a particular craft. An official of the department said that under the scheme a financial assistance of Rs 1 Lakh, in two equal instalments, is provided to the Registered Cooperatives for utilisation in the procuring the raw materials and process them to form finished goods. The registered artisans arrange their affairs collectively thereby economizing on the costs and exploit the marketing avenues jointly ensuring regular work and decent wages to secure low cost credit, to purchase supplies and equipment to market products, he said.

The department further facilitates the linkage of registered cooperatives to the market through various departmental programmes besides being preferred in the state as well as at national level Exhibitions. Regular marketing events are arranged in the national capital as well as in the leading cities of the country during the winter months

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