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With a purpose to create a bipartite mechanism to provide smooth and hassle free financial support to the artisans of the state, J&K Bank Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Directorate of handicrafts J&K here at the bank’s Corporate Headquarters.

J&K Bank Chairman and CEO Mushtaq Ahmad presided over the signing ceremony, where in Director Handicrafts Salma Hamid and the bank’s president P K Tickoo put in their signatures on the agreement. Executive President Abdul Hamid Banday was also present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Chairman Mushtaq Ahmad said, “It is a matter of great satisfaction for me that we have signed this MoU. This moment we have together made a more of a commitment to restore dignity of artisans in J&K. They form a vast segment of our society i.e. 3.50 lac artisans who need our serious attention and uninterrupted care. These are the people who have been earning us fame and fortunes since long.

“For growth and economic prosperity, demand cannot be manufactured but it can be enabled through the creation of avenues for people belonging to diverse sections of economy to work and earn in a dignified way”, he added.

Speaking on the occasion Director Handicrafts said, “The artisans who weave and craft masterpieces of art to satisfy aesthetic urge of clientele fails to meet their basic needs largely due to exploitation of middlemen. I hope through this MoU together we will achieve our set goals so that condition of artisans is ameliorated to some extent and their dignity is restored at least in financial terms.”

Congratulating the bank for its Platinum Jubilee, Director Handicrafts said, “I congratulate the management and staff of J&K Bank, a pivotal financial institution of our state, for foraying into platinum jubilee year of its existence. I appreciate them for specially focusing on handicrafts, the most important sector of state economy in its platinum jubilee year.”

She further said that there was continuous surge in the export of handicrafts earning Rs 1538 crores for the state during the year 2012-13.

However, the condition of artisans has gone from bad to worse, she added.

Earlier, the bank’s Executive President Abdul Hamid Banday spoke about the need for entering into the agreement with the handicrafts department.

He said, “The instances of delay in the disposal of loan cases of artisans had increased due to the non-coordination at various levels between the bank and the directorate. For an effective financial intervention coupled with proper monitoring mechanism, the bank and the directorate framed the MoU and formed a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) comprising of eight officials; five from the bank and three from the handicrafts department.”

“The purpose of SPV is primarily to smoothen and streamline the processes of financing to artisans by removing all the impediments so that the artisans are saved from exploitation while infusing crafts economy with a renewed sense of purpose”, he added.

Those present on the occasion included Joint Director Handicrafts M Ashraf Bhat, Development Officer Ulfat Jabeen, Assistant Directors of the department, J&K Bank Vice-President A K Pandita and other officers.


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