December Edition, Statewide Tripura, NET Bureau
The Northeast region over the years has witnessed a rise in start-ups and other skill development related entrepreneurship. Following their male counterparts with equal steps, it has been observed that women in many states across the country have created a niche for themselves and taken a lead in setting up various industries based on their learning from different skill development workshops. Northeast Today reports on how candle making business in Tripura is empowering women.
Skill development entrepreneurships, over the years, have witnessed a surge not just in the Northeast but across the country as well. From clothing to shoes to candles, a number of products have been manufactured by these entrepreneurs. In Tripura, of the biggest skill development entrepreneurship has been that of candle making and it has helped in empowering women in a great way. Candle making business has opened new avenues helping to boost the local economy. Many businessmen in the state are running candle production units and have employed several others.
“Eight to ten people work here every day and all those engaged in manufacturing are women. They, after completing their household chores, work here and earn well. Since there aren’t many power cuts in the region, so the demand of candles is mainly for worshiping purposes,” reports Outlook quoting the owner of a candle production unit Tapan Saha.
“My father started this unit after he gained training about candle making at a workshop held in Assam some 10 years ago. His motto was to engage and empower the unemployed youth of the area. Very little did he realise that his small initiative would one day help in running of 15-18 families,” says AK Das, owner of a candle production unit and a candle retailer while talking to Northeast Today.
“Even though power cuts in the state is rare and candles are bought most during the festive seasons or for religious purposes, there is, however, always a competition among the candle makers to make the best and the stylish candles,” adds on Das.
Tales of Empowerment
Candle making industry in Tripura has witnessed a large involvement of women- either as a worker or as an entrepreneur. These women, apart from empowering themselves, have also helped in the growth of the local economy.
Reboti Nandi, a 37-year-old worker at AK Das’ unit, while speaking to Northeast Today, says, “My husband works as a helper in one of the garment stores at Jagat Bazaar area. His earning is not enough for sustaining our family of four. Hence, I decided to work here and I am happy that with this little share, we are at least having some savings.”
Another worker, seeking anonymity, said, “I am a child widow and have also been sexually harassed. I was afraid of the society, but always wanted to do something meaningful in life. I took to candle making and it changed my life forever. Even though the initial few months were tough, but with time I have been able to make a name for myself and today I am earning my own bread and butter. I am living a life with head held high.”
Speaking to Northeast Today, Ananya Gogoi Baruah, a Guwahati-based candle maker who also imparts training and conducts workshop, said women in Tripura are quick to learn the basics of candle-making and thus so they have been able to adapt to the demands of the industry.
“I have conducted workshops in each and every state of the Northeast. What strikes the women from Tripura out from rest of others is their zeal and determination. I have never witnessed such enthusiasm anywhere else. They have their own ideas, their own designs and this has actually helped them and also the business to grow,” says Baruah.
“I am happy to know that the candle making industry is helping in empowering the women. Hope, more such initiatives come up in the region and we have more participation of women,” she adds on.
The candle industry of Tripura is among many such industries that have been promoting Prime Minister’s Skill India (PMSI) campaign. The PMSI campaign is thriving to train over 40 crore people in India in different skills by 2022. It includes various initiatives of the government like National Skill Development Mission, National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, 2015, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) and the Skill Loan scheme. It is hoped the more and more skill-based industries and more women find engagement in these industries.