CHENNAI: On August 28, six of the 10 artisans selected for the ‘Living Craft Treasure’ award received them from Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. This was the first time in the country such an award was being conferred on artisans.
A total of 24 artisans were selected for the ‘Poompuhar State Award’ and ‘Living Craft Treasure’ award of the Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation Limited for the year 2013-2014.
Aimed at encouraging the artisans and improving their standard of living, the Poompuhar award was elevated to the status of a state award in 2002. Today, the Poompuhar State Award comprises a cash prize of `50,000, four gm gold medal, ‘thamirapatram’ and a certificate.
Besides the six awards, on the same day, the chief minister handed over the Poompuhar State Award to one of the 14 artisans selected for the 2013-14 honour, an official release said here.
Taking a cue from Japan, which annually honours seven artisans as ‘Living National Treasures of Japan,’ the Tamil Nadu government introduced a similar award in 2013. Making the announcement on the floor of the State assembly on May 8, the Chief Minister had stated that artisans who had devoted their entire life for the cause of their craft would be similarly conferred with the ‘Living Craft Treasure’ award.
Comprising a cash prize of `one lakh, one sovereign gold medal, ‘thamirapatram’ and a certificate, the award is meant for artisans aged above 65 years and skilled in making 16 kinds of handicraft items including Thanjavur art plate and paintings, brass artefacts, wooden carvings, bamboo and palm products.
Out of the 10 artisans selected for the award, six received the honour from the chief minister on Thursday.
Besides, the two prestigious awards, 85 Poompuhar district awards are being conferred on artisans since 2011-12, an increase from 10 awards till 2010-11. Also, 132 ‘Gen Next’ awards were instituted in 2013-14, taking the total number of awards conferred annually on artisans in the state to 237, the release stated.
At the function, the Chief Minister also congratulated Minister for Rural Industries P Mohan on Tamil Nadu for bagging the 2012-13 award, instituted by India SME Forum, for the best state suited for small and medium enterprises.