India, China disengagement process in eastern Ladakh complete: Rajnath

Centre focused on promoting rural industries, aims to take annual turnover to Rs 5 lk cr


New Delhi, Feb 21: Master artisans and craftsmen can contribute big time to the country's economy and the central government's aim is to take the rural industries' annual turnover of about Rs 80,000 crore to Rs 5 lakh crore within the next two to three years, Union minister Rajnath Singh said on Sunday while inaugurating the 26th edition of 'Hunar Haat' here.
More than 600 artisans and craftsmen from over 31 states and Union Territories are participating in the Minority Affairs Ministry's 'Hunar Haat' being held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on the theme of "Vocal for Local" from February 20 to March 1. The official inauguration, however, was held Sunday.
The artisans and craftsmen have a very important role in contributing to the country's economy and GDP, Defence Minister Singh said.
"This is the irony that our rural industries did not get the kind of encouragement they should have. But our government is focused on promoting rural industries," he said. "The turnover of rural industries per year is approximately Rs 80,000 crore and our government aims to take this turnover to Rs 5 lakh crore within the next two to three years," he said.
Hailing the 'Hunar Haat' initiative of the Minority Affairs Ministry, Singh said it would go a long way in achieving the objective of 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat'.
Singh said the 'Hunar Haat' brings together indigenous artisans and craftsmen from across the country.
"This Haat is a beautiful exhibition of our traditional art and craft and more importantly our cultural mosaic," he said.
Artisans and craftsmen from states such as Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, are participating in 'Hunar Haat' to display and sell their products.
Exquisite indigenous handmade products such as brass products, wooden and clay toys, ajrakh block print, blue art pottery, pashmina shawl, khadi products, Banarasi silk, wooden furniture, Chikankari embroidery, Chanderi silk, Lac bangles, Rajasthani jewellery, jute products from West Bengal are available for sale and display at the 'Hunar Haat', an official release said.
The visitors will also get to enjoy traditional delicacies from every region of the country at the "Bawarchikhana" section. it said. The people will also enjoy different cultural and musical programmes being presented by renowned artists of the country at the 'Hunar Haat' in New Delhi.
Artists such as Vinod Rathore (February 21); Nizami Brothers (February 24); Sudesh Bhonsle (February 26); Kailash Kher (February 27); Shibani Kashyap (March 1) and others will present their programmes at the 'Hunar Haat'.
On the occasion, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the 'Hunar Haat', which is a "perfect platform" to promote indigenous products of artisans and craftsmen, has provided employment and employment opportunities to more than five lakh artisans, craftsmen and artists.
The Union Ministry of Minority Affairs will provide employment and employment opportunities to 7,50,000 artisans and craftsmen through 75 'Hunar Haats' which will be organised by completion of 75 years of the country's independence in 2022.
Naqvi said the 'Hunar Haat' is available on virtual and online platform and on the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) portal where the people can buy products of indigenous artisans and craftsmen.
Lok Sabha MP Meenakshi Lekhi was the Guest of Honour at the inauguration. Minority Affairs Ministry Secretary P K Das and other senior officials were also present on the occasion.
Asserting that the disengagement process by India and China in eastern Ladakh has been 'completed' after nine rounds of diplomatic and military level talks between the two countries, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday hit out at Congress for 'doubting' the bravery and valor of Indian soldiers.
Addressing Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) convention here, Singh said, "After nine rounds of dialogue at military and diplomatic levels, a part has been resolved but Congress tries to malign our image, saying we ceded land. I want to assure you that no one can occupy an inch of India's land till I am alive." "After nine rounds of military and diplomatic dialogue, the disengagement process is complete. But unfortunately, Congress is doubting the Indian army's bravery and courage. I want to ask isn't Congress party insulting to the soldiers who did the supreme sacrifice in Galwan valley," he added.
20 Indian soldiers had laid their lives and unspecified numbers of Chinese soldiers were killed in the Galwan Valley in June last year. India and China are in a standoff in eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), following aggressive border skirmishes by the Chinese army. Defence Minister said that the country will not allow any "unilateral action" on its border and "will pay any cost to thwart such attempts.
"We have never compromised with India's Unity, Territorial Integrity and Sovereignty and we will never do the same. We will never let India and Indians to down their head," he added.
Further attacking the Congress and its alliance partner Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Singh recalled that Congress launched a campaign for the purchase of Rafale planes across the country and said, "Chowkidar chor hai". He said, "CAG and the Supreme Court dismiss these allegations. A total of 17 Rafale have come to India and the rest would be in the country in a year's time, Congress and DMK have created controversy regarding its purchase."
"The DMK and Congress are strange bedfellows. They are marrying each other but they don't have any chemistry. If you talk to DMK people, they consider Congress as 'Party of Burden'. The only common thread between both the parties is their love of appeasement," he added.
Appealing Tamil Nadu citizens to vote for BJP, Singh said that only Lotus (BJP symbol) and Leaves (AIADMK symbol) can bring prosperity to the state.
"Today's State BJYM Convention indicates the people's mood in Tamil Nadu. The success of BJP's 'Vittrivel Yatra' has shaken DMK and Congress in Tamil Nadu. Only the combination of 'Lotus' and 'Two Leaves' can bring development and prosperity to this great land," he added.

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