Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 18 September 2023

PM Vishwakarma scheme launched

GS Paper - 2 (Social Issues)

On 17 September 2023, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the PM Vishwakarma scheme in New Delhi on the occasion of Vishwakarma Jayanti, for giving government support to workers engaged in traditional crafts and skills. First announced during his Independence Day speech around a month ago, the scheme is also being seen as a means for the government to reach out to the economically marginalised and socially backward communities – particularly the Other Backward Classes (OBC) groups.

What is the Vishwakarma scheme?

  • It is a new scheme with an outlay of Rs 13,000 crore and is fully funded by the Central government.
  • Vishwakarma, in Hindu mythology, is seen as the architect of the gods and was the divine carpenter and master craftsman who fashioned the weapons of the gods and built their cities and chariots.
  • Some legends say he was the architect of the mythical city Lanka mentioned in the Hindu epic Ramayana and is also said to have made the great image of Jagannatha at Puri in Odisha. He is considered the patron deity of workers, artisans, and artists.

Who is eligible for the Vishwakarma scheme?

  • The professionals engaged in traditional crafts and skills for centuries, often taught by elders in the family, have faced certain problems.
  • These include a lack of professional training for their work, of modern tools, the issue of distance from the markets relevant to them and the availability of little capital for investment.
  • Families associated with 18 such different sectors will be helped in all possible ways. These include:
  •         Carpenters
  •         Boat Makers
  •         Armourers
  •         Blacksmiths
  •         Hammer and Tool Kit Makers
  •         Locksmiths
  •         Goldsmiths
  •         Potters
  •         Sculptor, Stone breakers
  •         Cobblers (Shoesmiths/ Footwear artisans)
  •         Masons (Rajmistri)
  •         Basket/Mat/Broom Makers/Coir Weavers
  •         Doll & Toy Makers (Traditional)
  •         Barbers
  •         Garland makers
  •         Washermen
  •         Tailors
  •         Fishing Net Makes.

What benefits can be availed of through the Vishwakarma Scheme?

  • The scheme is to help enhance the skills of workers employed in these fields and help them avail loans easily to aid their earnings.
  • Under the scheme, the Vishwakarma workers will be registered for free through Common Services Centres using the biometric-based PM Vishwakarma portal.
  • They will then be provided recognition through the PM Vishwakarma certificate and ID card, given skill upgradation involving basic and advanced training, a toolkit incentive of ₹15,000, collateral-free credit support up to 1 lakh (first tranche) and 2 lakh (second tranche) at a concessional interest rate of 5%, incentive for digital transactions and marketing support.
  • toolkit booklet has also been released in 12 Indian languages, with accompanying video elements, to aid the knowledge of workers on new technologies in their field.

Santiniketan inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List

GS Paper - 1 (Culture)

Santiniketan, the famed place in West Bengal where poet Rabindranath Tagore built Visva-Bharati over a century ago, has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage ListIndia had been striving for a long to get a UNESCO tag for this cultural site located in Birbhum district. The decision to include Santiniketan in the list was taken during the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee currently underway in Saudi Arabia.

More about the News

  • A few months ago, the landmark site was recommended for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List by international advisory body ICOMOS.
  • The France-based International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) is an international non-governmental organisation that comprises professionalsexpertsrepresentatives from local authorities, companies and heritage organisations and is dedicated to the conservation and enhancement of the architectural and landscape heritage around the world.
  • Santiniketan, a university town over 160 km from Kolkata, was originally an ashram built by Rabindranath Tagore's father Debendranath Tagore, where anyone, irrespective of caste and creed, could come and meditate on the one Supreme God, according to a description of the landmark on the official website of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre.
  • Debendranath Tagore, also known as 'Maharshi', meaning one who is both a saint and sage, was a leading figure of the Indian Renaissance.
  • Among the structures built by the Maharshi was the Santiniketan Griha and the beautiful stained glass Mandir, or temple where worship is non-denominational.
  • Both structures built in the second half of the 19th century are important in their association with the founding of Santiniketan and the universal spirit associated with the revival and reinterpretation of religious ideals in Bengal and India.
  • Visva-Bharati, located in Santiniketan, is one of the most prestigious universities in India with degree courses in humanities, social science, science, fine arts, music, performing arts, education, agricultural science and rural reconstruction.
  • The university was founded by Rabindranath Tagore. It was declared a central university and an institution of national importance by an Act of Parliament in 1951.
  • Visva-Bharati is the sole central university of West Bengal and the prime minister is its chancellor.