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With an effort to make the traditional industries more productive and competitive, the Government of India has announced setting up of a fund for the regeneration of traditional industries with an initial allocation of Rs. 100 crore. In association with this announcement, a central sector Scheme titled “Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI)” with a total cost of Rs. 97.25 crore was approved.

Considering the region of Kerala, coir industry is one of the major labour-intensive  industries that fall under the definition of traditional industry “industry that produces marketable products, using locally available raw materials, skills and indigenous technology” Implementation of the SFURTI scheme is done through the joint effort of several bodies like the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and its organizations (Khadi and village industries Commission – KVIC and Coir Board), the State government, its organizations and non-governmental organizations are involved.

Kerala has derived its name from “Coconut” (“kera” meaning coconut and “alam” meaning land) and has the majority of India’s coconut production. Therefore it has huge opportunities for the production of products like coir derived from the husk of the coconut.

TBI of NIT Calicut has taken up a project from the Coir Board, GoI under the SFURTI Scheme to act as an Implementing Agency (IA), for the development of Balussery Coir Cluster. Coir Board under the Ministry MSME is the Nodal Agency (NA), Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDI) is the Technical Agency (TA) for this project. The Balussery Coir Cluster, a Registered Society under the Societies Act, is the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) formed for the implementation of the Cluster Development project.

There are two components to this project – Soft intervention and Hard Intervention. TBI NITC is directly managing the soft intervention component, which includes training, creating technology awareness about coir production, etc for the beneficiaries. The Hard intervention component leads to infrastructure development which is a Common Facility Center at the beneficiary area ie: at Kavumthara, Naduvannur Panchayath.

Training on Spinning Unit

The major challenges of the Coir Industry :

  • inadequate knowledge of the product and its end uses,
  • lack of accessibility to technology
  • lack of innovation
  • low rate of wages
  • unawareness of people about the advantages of coir products
  • inability to identify proper channels of distribution
  • competition from other units
  • lack of financial support
  • lack of adequate marketing so as to attract customers both at national and international levels

These issues to a large extent can be addressed by the SFURTI Scheme where various agencies, Central and State governments join their hands for

  • the sustainable development of the coir industry including the vast number of artisans (as this industry is a labour-intensive industry)
  • enhancing the marketability of the coir products
  • providing technical training for the artisans
  • providing technological advancements via improved tools, equipment and infrastructure facilities
  • providing financial supports
  • Designated Agencies for the development and implementation of SFURTI Scheme
  • Nodal Agency (NA) : The Coir Board (designated with the funding support for the SFURTI Scheme)
  • Implementing Agency (IA) : Technology Business Incubator (TBI) NITC: Involved in the Balussery cluster development (Roles: Setting up the Common Facility Centre (CFC) at Balussery for the beneficiaries of SFURTI and training them to use and successfully run the CFC through which they will be profitably running their industry. For this purpose TBI NITC has employed a cluster development executive who ensures effective implementation of the project, arranges land, proper utilization of government grants)
  • Technical Agency (TA) : Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDI) (involved in providing technical support to the NAs and IAs, DPR)

The cluster is under development and the activities involved there

  • Balussery coir cluster (Balussery Block Panchayat)
  • Consists of 9 societies, 2 NGOs and 5 entrepreneurs adding up to a total number of beneficiaries of 429.
  • Fund allotted: 1.3 Cr. In total for hard and soft interventions.
  • 2 common facilities centres (CFCs):
  • Defibering Unit {to extract fibre out of husk (Status: 95 % of work is completed)}
  • Automatic Spinning Unit (ASU) (to turn fibre to yarn) (Status : operationalized: with the raw material, i.e, fibre procured from other artisans or units)
  • The work is nearing completion and the CFCs will start functioning after the formal inauguration.

The following blog link may be followed for additional details: https://balusserycoircluster.wordpress.com/author/balusserycoircluster/