Lucknow, September 7: In order to help the agarbatti (incense sticks) industry, the Centre has decided to rope in IITs to extend their support. According to an IANS report, the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Ministry has expanded its reach and support to artisans, involved in making agarbattis, as well as to the industry, by its new guidelines issued on September 4.

The Centre has drawn a 4-point agenda for extending support to the industry, which it believes will help in strengthening India`s MSME sector. The Ministry is working to  The centre has decided to continuously support the artisans through training, by providing raw material, marketing and financial support.

It has also worked on all aspects of this product, like innovation in the fragrance and packaging, use of new or alternate raw materials like re-usable flowers, coir pith, and supply of bamboo sticks by closely working with the Ministry of Agriculture to help the industry flourish.

What is the Centre of Excellence?

A `Centre of Excellence` is also being set up in the Flavour and Fragrance Development Centre in Uttar Pradesh`s Kannauj, which is known to be India`s fragrance capital.

The Centre has also decided to set up 10 clusters with proper marketing linkages under SFURTI (Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries) scheme of the MSME Ministry at a total cost of about Rs 50 crore.

The Centre believes that these projects will give a boost to the agarbatti industry and help in further building indigenous capability in all areas of agarbatti manufacturing with increased exports, and enhanced employment opportunities to the artisans and entrepreneurs. This is expected to benefit about 5,000 artisans for their sustainable employment.

The Khadi and Village Industries Commission, one of the statutory organisations under the MSME, will implement the programme and will "handhold the artisans" with proper backward & forward linkages and support, the Centre claimed.