Govt will support leather artisans, says CM Bommai at convention


Industry shows recovery after incurring losses

CM Basavaraj Bommai on Friday promised the state government will support leather artisans. An allocation of Rs 25 crore has been made for artisans as compared to last year’s Rs 6 crore.

“This year I presented the budget… which was worth Rs 2.65 lakh crores.The budget was safely kept in a leather bag produced by the artisans,” he said while addressing a State Level Leather Artisans’ Convention in Bengaluru.

The five-dayconventionhas been organized by the Social Welfare Department in association with  Dr Babu Jagjivan Ram Leather Industries Development Corporation, Karnataka (Lidkar). Through the convention, the corporation aims to implement several projects for the betterment of artisans belonging to scheduled castes. Major projects include skill training, self-employment and infrastructure development projects.

Bommai talked about the need for innovation in the field. “There are new machines and innovations that will enable efficiency in this profession…. We have to innovate and inculcate technology to improve productivity and increase employment.” 

The leather business has faced severe losses due to the pandemic. However, the business has been  taking off again in recent times. The convention, accompanied by an exhibition-cum- sale, is also helping artisanswho have come from all over Karnataka to earn extra. Atleast 5000 artisans will attendthe convention.

Aditya P, owner of Aditya Footwear, Belagavi, informed The Observer: “I have been in this business for over 50 years. During the pandemic, the business almost closed down, but is reviving now.I hope the government announces some schemes for artisans.”

The state government organises such exhibitions every year in Bengaluru. However, there were no exhibitions in past two years due to the pandemic

Sagar, aleather artisan from Bengaluru, shared: “These exhibitions help with marketing. I have been to other B2B sales which are more profitable.”

Most of the artisans in Karnataka belong to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes like Chamar, Mochi and other communities.

Bommai also announced the government will establish1,000-capacity hostels for SC, ST and OBC students in Gadag, Dharwad, Mysuru, Bengaluru and Mangaluru.

Kota Srinivasa Pujary, Minister for Social Welfare and Backward Class Welfare, said: “From the olden days where people sat on streets to polish people’s leather shoes to now, where 50,000 people are attending this convention, we have come a long way. The government has given provisions to enable artisans to send their products to each and every home and other opportunities in the state.”

The convention will go on till Tuesday, May 17. Many artisans from other states are also expected to be attend it.


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