Strategy for implementation of clusters
With the objective of adopting a holistic approach for cluster development, the major focus while implementing clusters has been, on the following:
Initiative for Convergence:
Through RRC the entire approach has been focused to develop a smooth forward-backward linkage within each cluster so as to enhance its productivity and market competitiveness. The aim has been achieve convergence with multiple agencies having specialization in respective sectors and skills.
Sustainability of business operations through community participation being the sole theme various government departments and private partners were approached for specific contributions.
Gap funding through North Eastern Council (NEC) As per mandate of the MSE-CDP Scheme, the GOI contribution for soft intervention is 80% of the fund sanctioned for a particular cluster and remaining 20% has to be contributed by the State Government and the beneficiaries. The MSME clusters in the NER being mostly livelihood clusters, it was not possible to mobilize the beneficiaries' contribution. Moreover while implementing the soft interventions in the clusters; any initiative for convergence through schemes of related departments required some contribution by the beneficiaries. With the objective of making meaningful interventions in the clusters and to enable cluster artisans avail benefits under various schemes, an initiative was taken up to get gap funding for the clusters. A proposal was submitted to NEC for gap funding and specific areas where such funds were required were identified. This was done in consultation with the SPV/ beneficiaries.
- DC-Handloom: The handloom clusters particularly in the Umden Eri Cluster the artisans could avail worksheds and subsidies through the Handloom department. Through the scheme of the DC Handloom, the district handloom office government of Meghalaya provided 100 work sheds with looms. 64 Nos. of artisans received Rs. 9000/- each and another 36 artisans received Rs. 25000/- individually. The work shed consisted of a temporary work shed, fly shuttle loom and improved accessories.
A total of 68 artisans were covered under the Health insurance Scheme sponsored by DC Handloom.
- DRDA: Successful convergence was developed with the DRDA under SGSY schemes. For artisan of a number of clusters, specially artisans of the Umden Eri Cluster & the Bogulamari Jute Cluster could get benefit under the SGSY Scheme.
- DC Handicraft: The artisans of the various clusters have been provided artisans cards through the office of DC (Handicraft). The artisan credit cards besides giving them an identity facilitated their participantion in trade fairs & exhibitions.
- Sericulture Department: Through the Department of Sericulture rearing sheds were provided to artisans of the Umden Eri Cluster & that enabled them to undertake the rearing activity systematically.
A SPV was formed under the name of Umden Eri Cluster Development Cooperative Society Ltd. This society had provided land to form CFC within the cluster. The CFC was constructed under the sponsorship of department of Sericulture and Weaving under BRGF (Backward Region Grant Fund) Scheme and today Umden Eri Cluster has a functional CFC for weaving & spinning.
- Banks & MFI's: Commercial Banks like SBI & Assam Gramin Vikash Bank have provided credit to household units of various clusters.
MFI's like RGVN/Bandhan from supported a large number of SHG's of almost all the clusters. This helped the cluster artisans to scale up production.
Implementation of the Design Clinic Scheme of the Ministry of MSME in the clusters: Through the Design Clinic Scheme of the Ministry of MSME, a number of Design Seminars, Need Assessment Survey (NAS) and Workshops were organised in the clusters. The Design Seminars helped in
- Generating Design Awareness
- Introducing the Design Clinic Scheme to the cluster artisans
- Establishing more clarity about need for interventions
The NAS and Workshops which followed the design seminars were found to be beneficial for the clusters. After undertaking an extensive need assessment survey for around 15-20 days the designers tried to address the issues and problems of the cluster that the artisans have been facing. Some common problems like lack of diversified products, use of outdated technology, traditional methods of production etc., were identified by NAS conducted in various clusters.
NAS & Workshops were organized in the following clusters in the state of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur and Sikkim.