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Rs 534 crore project to empower NE craftsmen

GUWAHATI, February 15 (AGENCIES): In a commendable endeavour to connect the craftsmen of the eight northeastern states with global markets, the Society for Child & Women Empowerment (SCWE) has initiated a Rs 534-crore mega project. The main goal of the project, named Rising East, is empowerment of skilled and semi-skilled craftsmen of the region.
The society has tied up with the North East Khadi and Industries Board for the ambitious project, which is also aimed at expediting employment generation in the northeast, especially in Assam, by establishing training centres in Guwahati, Tezpur, Dibrugarh and Silchar.
"Our new project, Rising East, is dedicated to the people of the northeast. The tribes here have diverse traditions and cultures, which are reflected in their dress, furniture and artefacts. Through this new project, the society wants to help the people of the region make better livelihoods through small business units. Of the total sum of Rs 534 crore meant for the project, Rs 130 crore has been budgeted for disbursement among identified beneficiaries by March 31 this year," said R C Kunal, HR and operations manager of SCWE.
He informed that under Rising East project, SCWE will fund entrepreneurs from the second last layer. The society plans to set up 4,900 small business units in the region and implement the project with full transparency.
"We are taking the responsibility of marketing the exquisite products of the northeast. The society have already tied up with buyers who are selling local products to international and national department stores," Kunal added.
An information centre to respond to the queries of entrepreneurs and craftsmen will shortly come up in Guwahati.
The entrepreneurs funded by SCWE will have to share 30% of their profit with the society after they start making profits. "The society wants to enable them to set up sustainable businesses. Many NGOs across the country have become extinct due to lack of vision. But SCWE is investing in the project to empower the skilled and semi-skilled people of the eight northeastern states whose craftsmanship has no takers because of lack of exposure," Kunal noted.

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