<p class="p1">Minister for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) Nitin Gadkari has approved a scheme to raise production of 'agarbatti' (incense sticks) and become self-reliant on that front.</p>
<p class="p1">The Khadi Agarbatti Aatmanirbhar Mission, proposed by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), eyes employment generation as well as making India self-reliant in agarbatti production.</p>
<p class="p1">A pilot project will be launched soon. On full-fledged implementation, thousands of jobs will be created in the sector, according to an official statement.</p>
<p class="p1">Under the public-private partnership involving small investment, the scheme would help create sustainable employment and aid the private incense sticks makers scale up production without any capital investment by them, it said.</p>
<p class="p1">Under the scheme, the KVIC will provide automatic incense sticks production and powder mixing machines to artisans by the private agarbatti manufacturers who will sign the agreement as business partners. The KVIC will procure only locally made machines.</p>
<p class="p1">The KVIC will provide a 25 per cent subsidy and recover in easy installments the rest cost of the machine from artisans every month. The business partner will provide raw material to artisans and will pay them wages on a job work basis.</p>
<p class="p1">The cost of artisans' training will be shared by the KVIC and the private business partner on 75:25 per cent basis. A two-party agreement will be signed between the KVIC and the private agarbatti manufacturer.</p>
<p class="p1">The scheme had been designed following import restriction on raw agarbatti and an increase in import duty on bamboo sticks, it said.</p>.