BHUBANESWAR: Odisha state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hopes that the Union government’s Pradhan Mantri Vishwakarma scheme scheduled to be launched on Sunday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will help the party to further strengthen the party's foothold in the province.
Speaking to reporters here, former Union minister and party’s Lok Sabha member from Balasore, Pratap Sarangi, said the artisans class in Odisha, long overlooked by the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), will now be able to pursue their traditional occupation with more confidence.
The scheme will provide support to artisans and craftspeople in rural and urban areas across India.
Eighteen traditional crafts will be covered under the PM Vishwakarma scheme. These include (i) Carpenter; (ii) Boat Maker; (iii) Armourer; (iv) Blacksmith ; (v) Hammer and Tool Kit Maker; (vi) Locksmith; (vii) Goldsmith; (viii) Potter; (ix) Sculptor, Stone breaker; (x) Cobbler (Shoesmith/ Footwear artisan); (xi) Mason (Rajmistri); (xii) Basket/Mat/Broom Maker/Coir Weaver; (xiii) Doll & Toy Maker (Traditional); (xiv) Barber; (xv) Garland maker; (xvi) Washerman; (xvii) Tailor; and (xviii) Fishing Net Maker.
The BJP state unit has decided to organise programmes celebrating the scheme’s launch.
"The scheme will be launched by PM Modi in New Delhi, while Union ministers, including Railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, will inaugurate it in Bhubaneswar, Sambalpur and Puri. As many as 30 lakh people in India will be included in the scheme in the first phase," said BJP MP Pratap Sarangi.
Odisha’s ruling BJD and Congress criticised the launch of Vishwakarma scheme saying it was a pre-poll move to woo voters.
"The centre has just woken up from deep slumber. This scheme is launched in view of the next elections. It will have no effect on the voters," said BJD MLA, Parshuram Dhada.
Congress leader Santosh Singh Saluja said, "The Centre has launched this scheme only because of the elections. But I am sure this will have no effect on the people of Odisha. The voters do not want to vote for the BJP irrespective of the schemes they launch."