As per the reports of WHO, COVID-19 put the whole world in an unprecedented crisis and lingering uncertainty, generalized economic depression, unemployment, Quarantine, unavoidable Lockdown & travel-ban that was imposed globally as a necessity to tackle the pandemic. Among the populace, the migrants were found to be one of the most vulnerable groups in this lockdown, as their very livelihood came to a complete standstill. COVID-19 brought about a massive change to the existing systems and generated This eventually created verwhelming fear and mounting anxiety among the people due to the novelty of the crisis & the uncertainty it brought with it. The COVID-19 Lockdown, imposed to tackle the pandemic & to rein in its outspread, has turned the economy into a new situation of “Reverse Migration” in which people returned back from the working place to the Native place. From Decades, going to other states for better economic prospect has been a way of life in West Champaran District. Hence, this District also received large number of returnees who had the pressing need to head back home in an unprecedented crisis. They returned back from various parts of India e.g., Surat, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Mumbai, Delhi, Chandigarh, Kerala, Tamilnadu, Karnataka etc. & abroad like Dubai, Qatar, with lost livelihood & in a state of distress, after the nationwide Lockdown imposed in the year 2020 to contain the spread of COVID-19. Returnees were afraid of going back & wanted to get their Livelihood here as a number of them had bitter experience with their employers as well as the uncertainty & Fear COVID-19 brought with it. It is said that- “unprecedented time requires unprecedented measures.” “Navpravartan” Startup Zone, Chanpatia provided an innovative solution to the plight of returnees who faced grave financial & psychosocial crisis and lost their livelihood due to the unprecedented calamity of COVID-19.
The move of Setting up of the “Navpravartan” Startup Zone, Chanpatia in West Champaran District is an Innovative and Transformational step towards realizing the true potential of these returnees, providing them Livelihood solutions near to home, fueling economic growth of the District by Bulk production Model using latest technologies, generating employment, nurturing entrepreneurial Ecosystem & providing an efficient public service delivery system leading us to the goal of “AtmaNirbhar Bharat”.
It is said that- “unprecedented time requires unprecedented measures.” “Navpravartan” Startup Zone, Chanpatia provided an innovative solution to the plight of returnees who faced grave financial & psychosocial crisis and lost their livelihood due to the unprecedented calamity of COVID-19. The move of Setting up of the “Navpravartan” Startup Zone, Chanpatia in W. Champaran District is an Innovative and Transformational step towards realizing the true potential of these returnees, providing them Livelihood solutions near to home, fueling economic growth of the District by Bulk production Model using latest technologies, generating employment, nurturing entrepreneurial Ecosystem & providing an efficient public service delivery system leading us to the goal of “Atma Nirbhar Bharat”. It has not only helped returnees to set up their own production units & brands with the help of district administration, but also created thousands of direct and indirect employment in the home district. It was evolved amidst the COVID-19 Crisis and the tools used were innovatively devised to provide solution in a minimal time as it required very swift solution to facilitate the returnees to set up their Production units here & get the livelihood.
Skill Mapping exercise
During their stay inside quarantine camps, workers were identified and mapped according to their skills and the data were carefully collated. We were fortunate enough to know that the skill pool possessed by the workers were in the diverse areas like Computer added designing, Embroidery, Weaving, Sewing, Paver block manufacturing, Carpentry, and even technical know-how of latest fashion trends and Sales.
This data helped in deciding where and which sector needs to be focused upon. This also gave an impetus to implore the possibility of converting the idea of making aWorker into an Entrepreneur, which eventually happened. Group Counseling was done to trace owner/manager/supervisors of home coming workers.“Udayami Mitra Mandali” was formed to keep the workers, entrepreneurs, experts in loop even after they left quarantine centers.
Counselling and Formation of “Udayami Mitra Mandali”
As per the directions from Industrial Department, Bihar, the District Registration and Counselling Centre (DRCC) was formed to enhance the employment opportunities. The State Government also implemented “District Industrial Innovation Scheme” to provide means of employment to home coming workers at local level on war footing. Adding to this, the ‘Bihar Industrial Investment Promotion Policy’ has been extended by many amendments. The scheme encouraged establishments of micro and small units with various forward and backward linkages. The responsibility to execute was rested upon the district administration. Group counselling was done to trace owners/managers/supervisors of homecoming workers. “Udayami Mitra Mandali” was formed to keep the workers, entrepreneurs, experts in loop even after they left quarantine centers. The administration asked members of Udyami Mitra Mandals to come up with detailed plans of how they would set up industry here alongside the contact details of their previous employers and the process of shipping the necessary manufacturing equipment there.
Single Point Of Contact (SPOC)
The District level officers were made to act as a Single Point Of Contact (SPOC) for each of the units. They facilitated and ensured the action plan was implemented in letter and spirit. They also provided technical support for the budding Entrepreneurs and were made aware of both the forward and backward linkages. This laid a foundation for marketing the finished goods.
Meetings were held with the Representatives of Banks where SPOC briefing them about the benefits arising out of the initiative. After the perusal of documents, loans were disbursed to the beneficiaries under the existing schemes like PMEGP. With District administration as a mediator, it has benefitted both the parties and thereby the funding part was taken care of. SBI, Chanpatia among other banks was appreciated for their contribution in this regard.
Bank linkages for financial arrangements
District Administration helped to broaden the finance options available to returnees by improving understanding about the full range of financing instruments they can access in varying circumstances and by encouraging discussion among stakeholders about new approaches and innovative policies for SME and entrepreneurship financing. Directions were given to contact the owners and employers of homecoming workers and made them aware of the facilities Bihar government was providing to establish their units in Bihar. Meetings were held with the Representatives of Banks briefing them about the benefits arising out of the initiative. After the perusal of documents, loans were disbursed to the beneficiaries under the existing schemes like Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP), but this endeavor predominantly came under the umbrella of the Bihar government’s Zila Audyogik Navpravartan Yojana, a district industrial innovation scheme for returnees. A lot of financial support also came from public sector banks. On average, each entrepreneur received a capital of Rs 25 lakh. For sanctioning of loans “Loan Mela” had been organized. This established trust between the two parties with District Administration as a mediator.
Establishment of “Navpravartan” Start-up Zone, Chanpatia)
Setting up Production Unit: From Silos to Startup zone: To find a suitable location for setting up Startup zone Production unit, a series of discussions was held and it was realized that a single industrial hub was needed to accommodate all individual manufacturing units with the facility of electricity, drinking water, toilet etc. For this, two vacant FCI warehouse at Chanpatia were chosen which have the cumulative capacity of 15000mt. The site is 18km away from Bettiah District HQ and has good transport connectivity. Along with this, dedicated transformers were also installed for uninterrupted power supply and connections were given to all the entrepreneurs and adequate arrangements for drinking water, toilets, etc. were also made there. The interested Entrepreneurs applied to BIADA (Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority) for the area allotment. After the allotments, each manufacturing unit fenced itself and duly registered under Industrial Rules and GST. Within a few months of its commencement, the Start-up Zone is now buzzing with commercial activities opening new avenues of employment. The interested Entrepreneurs applied to BIADA for the area allotment.
“Plug and Play” model
‘Plug and play’ concept was used facilities in terms of building, power-water-sewage connectivity, road connectivity, besides other basic things including clearances in hand required to start the industry.
Logistical Support & Installation Modern Machines for Bulk Production
Working in close partnership with the State government, the district administration is even offering logistical support to set up an electricity connection, help transport imported manufacturing equipment from other cities. For example, if they need to ship some equipment from Ludhiana, the State government is taking care of 80% of the transport costs. Although some of them are arranging transport trucks, District Administration also established contact with the railway authorities to transport small containers comprising raw material, machinery, etc. This is cheaper than trucks. Installation of 40 feet long Computer added Embroidery machines, CAD enabled various machines and laser operated machines had also been done which resulted in Bulk production at a very cheaper rate.
CM / Dignitaries Visit, Appreciation
“Navpravartan” Startup Zone established under the District Industrial Innovation Scheme 2020 in Chanpatia block under West Champaran district were visited by Hon’ble Chief Minister, Bihar, Shri Nitish Kumar on dated 31.12.2020 and commended the efforts done by the District Administration and directed to replicate this model in other Districts of Bihar. Deputy CM, Industry Minister and many other dignitaries have also visited it and applauded the initiative. In continuation, a presentation was done by DM, West Champaran before all the DMs of the state under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary, Bihar for adopting and replicating the model. Also, Industry Department has sent all the General Managers of District Industries centers to Startup Zone Chanpatia for replicating this model in other Districts too. Many Districts like- Khagaria, Gaya etc have sent their teams to learn the best practices and has started replicating this model. Industry Department, Bihar has issued new guideline vide memo number-3273, Dated- 01/09/2021 for the scheme- District Industrial Innovation scheme which mentions and includes Best practices adopted here like Plug & Play Model, Loan through PMEGP etc and directed to replicate the model in other Districts too. A presentation was also done by DM, West Champaran before Atal Innovation Mission for adopting it as a model for replication.
Shri Narmadeshwar Lal, Secretary, Industries Department, Bihar has visited startup zone and applauded the work which has been done in West Champaran district in the direction of providing employment to the workers who have returned to the district during the Corona epidemic. During their visit he assured the entrepreneurs that government is standing with them at every step, they will always be helped. The entrepreneurs told the secretary that if a showroom becomes functional in the district, the sale of their products will increase. On this, the Secretary said that to make the showroom functional in West Champaran district, the site should be selected first. After this, the industry department will bear the cost of building the showroom. He said that process should be started for arranging sales outlets in industrial cities like Delhi, Ludhiana, Surat etc. He said that keeping in view the point of view of tourism in Valmikinagar also, the process of setting up showrooms should be started there. Now a greater number of tourists are coming to Valmikinagar. On the one hand, entrepreneurs will be benefited by operating a showroom here, while tourists will also get the material of their use easily.
Dr. Manish Kumar, Commissioner, Tirhut Division, Muzaffarpur has visited “Navpravartan” Startup Zone, Chanpatia said that West Champaran district has immense potential for industries. This district is to be made the industrial hub of Bihar. He said that ‘Made in Champaran’ would have to be promoted and for this everyone would have to work together forever.
Minister of Industry of Bihar Government Shahnawaz Hussain reached Chanpatia Startup Zone on 03rd Oct, 2021 (Sunday). He held a meeting with the office-bearers of Startup Zone including Deputy Chief Minister Renu Devi, Tourism Minister Narayan Prasad, MP Dr Sanjay Jaiswal, Satish Chandra Dubey, MLA Umakant Singh and DM, Industry Manager. After the meeting, he inspected the startup zone. On this occasion, he said that under the new textile policy, Bettiah would be developed as a textile hub.
RBI Representatives and representatives of other banks like SBI, HDFC, UCO Bank etc have also visited it with their teams to see how Bank funding through schemes like PMEGP can become such a praiseworthy Success story. Hearing about success, a team from Development Management Institute, Patna is visiting the Startup Zone.
Service Centre Facility: For Repair, Importing latest machines & Maintenance
These workers are highly skilled. They have not only started Bulk Production district, but also have skill of repairing the machines. One such skilled worker, Falinder was doing the work of repairing the machines by staying in the Amritsar for 30 years. According to Falinder, the cost of machines that make designs on cloth comes to around 35 lakhs if imported, but Falinder had made the same machine at the cost less than Rs. 8 to 10 lakhs. This skill of Falinder will also help in making the district a branded
Brand Design: – Creation of “Brand West Champaran”
The workers were experts at making garments but as first-time sellers, they also needed distinctive branding. District administration is in the forefront of publicizing their products, helping in designing distinctive LOGO, helping in better packaging to create Brand value. Some of them are namely Champaran Creation, Bihar Garment or simply WC (for West Champaran),ADR Shirts, & Lisso, targeting a wider market. In India the products are making inroads into several states. Needless to mention, products are being sold through e-commerce platforms also. Till now manufacturers at the startup zone has received orders of the value of almost sixty million from the local market, other states and other countries. On-Call Service Centre has also been provided. District administration handheld them & enabled digital capacity building by providing them training to sell their product digitally on e-commerce sites like Amazon, Flipkart etc which resulted in the expansion of their market linkage. One of the returnees who returned back from Jaitpur near Surat is running his Brand on various e-commerce site and it is in the Top Ten sellers of India on Flipkart.
Creation of “Brand West Champaran”: The workers were experts at making garments but as first-time sellers, they also needed distinctive branding. District administration is in the forefront of publicizing their products, helping in designing distinctive LOGO, helping in better packaging to create Brand value. Some of them are namely Champaran Creation, Bihar Garment or simply WC (for West Champaran),ADR Shirts, & Lisso, targeting a wider market. In India the products are making inroads into several states. Needless to mention, products are being sold through e-commerce platforms also. Till now manufacturers at the startup zone has received orders of the value of almost sixty million from the local market, other states and other countries. On-Call Service Centre has also been provided. District administration handheld them & enabled digital capacity building by providing them training to sell their product digitally on e-commerce sites like Amazon, Flipkart etc which resulted in the expansion of their market linkage. One of the returnees who returned back from Jaitpur near Surat is running his Brand on various e-commerce site and it is in the Top Ten sellers of India on Flipkart.
The Way Forward
For both workers and industry, a good beginning has been made and there is positivity that the efforts will made in the future and these small but developing hubs will set a good example of how to get commercial results from smaller centres. The initiative has created a ripple of positive energy in the lives of people of Champaran. Though it has reached the unreached, there is still a long way.
- Expansion of start-up zone at different places in the district: 57 returnee’s Production units with more than 400 machines running & items worth Rs 15 crore have been sold in various part of India including Surat and Ludhiana & even exported leading us to the goal of Atmanirbhar Bharat. It has created thousands of direct and indirect employment in the home district. Besides this, hundreds of returnees have started their units outside also. About 141 udyamis have applied for space allocation for starting their units. Due to space constraints at “Navpravartan” Startup Zone, Chanpatia, there is a need to expand it to other parts of the district. For this Ramnagar, Harnatand and other sites have been chosen to replicate this model.
- Facilitating Incubation Centers for Startups: Incubation centers are crucial for nurturing promising Startups. They provide access to mentoring network, market network, shared physical infrastructure etc. Creation of Physical Infrastructure generally requires large capital investments. Considering this, financial assistance for setting up of new incubators and expanding State supported Incubators has begun.
- Mission-100 Startup: Youth Entrepreneurs Campaign: The ‘District Industrial Innovation Scheme’ is a very ambitious scheme of the District Administration. The district administration is determined to fulfill every youth who is dreaming to do better. It is the resolve of the district administration that 100 entrepreneurs should be prepared under ‘Mission-100’. Much success has already been achieved in this mission. Many Startups e.g “Ease My Salon”, “Nearme Shops”, “Agri-dhaan Global Private Limited”, “Shri Balaji Fly Ash Brick Industry”, “Valmiki Yatra” have been started by the youth in various fields like innovative technology, agricultural products etc. The district administration is constantly having meetings with these young entrepreneurs to solve their problems and encourage and guide them to fulfill their dream to entrepreneurs. Much interested youth are invited to DRCC for counselling where they share their startup idea and decide how to implement it further.
- PM Mega Integrated Textile Region and Apparel (PM MITRA) Parks: PM MITRA Parks scheme has been initiated by Central Government to develop integrated large scale and modern industrial infrastructure facility for entire value-chain of the textile industry. In continuation “Navpravartan” Startup Zone, Chanpatia has set new benchmarks of success. Apart from the incubation centers, proposal for setting of a “PM MITRA Parks” in the district is also being prepared, for this 1000 acres of land have been surveyed.
- Integrated Manufacturing Hub: Integrated Manufacturing Hub has been proposed by the central government. For this, 600 acres of land have been identified.
- Startup Zone at Harnatand: In Bihar, the Tharu tribes settlements are concentrated in Harnatand – a flat stretch of about 45 square km, surrounded by the Don and Someshwar hills. Startup Zone has been set up in this area so that Tharu tribal people also get benefit from it.
- Setting up a cluster-cum-mega showroom: The process of setting up a cluster-cum-mega showroom under the Bihar Industrial Innovation Scheme has been proposed. Along with this, exhibitions will also be organized at various places.
The district administration is working tirelessly with the aim of making a better West Champaran district. Champaran is the land of heritage and historical background. Many revolutions have started from here. A similar revolution (to make a production hub) has been started with everyone’s efforts. Work is being done to make the youth here entrepreneurs according to their skills and experience. The goal has been set to give a better future to the coming generations.
Every Challenge is an Opportunity. This has become clearly evident from the Chanpatia’s Startup Zone success story. The efficient use of resources along with the timely help from state government and district administration has enabled the self-sustaining entity to thrive on its own. With no doubt, Chanpatia’s Startup Zone, will definitely be a forerunner for the future Innovative endeavors.
“Navpravartan” Startup Zone, Chanpatia is a silent revolution which is swiftly changing Majdoor se Maalik (Worker to Owner) with the help of administration & it also has immense potential to transform into proper manufacturing hubs. Thousands of garments produced in the area have been shipped to Spain and Qatar. Now, these enterprising units are targeting South Africa as the next market. The earlier raw material used to come from Surat or Ludhiana but now fabric on power loom is being prepared locally too. Similarly, printing, multi-head embroidery is also being done here. So far in six to eight months, workers have produced goods of around Rs. 15 crore. This area is also making garments under the brand name of Champaran to create local identity and build a strong recollect value. As these workers are now settled in their home town, it is attracting more workers from established hubs. The story told by them as :-
Mrityunjay Sharma, owner of a clothing brand called Lisso, returned to the state from Delhi after he lost his job due to the pandemic. He was helped by district administration to avail 25 lakh under Prime Minister Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) loan to set up his own brand. Now within a short span of time, he started getting orders in bulk and overall transaction has reached in Crores, a month.
Archana Kushwaha, who worked in a textile mill in Surat, had returned here in lockdown with his husband Nand Kishor (technician in textile company). Today she is the owner of a factory “Champaran Creation” to make saree and lehenga and is also giving employment to many people. Archana Kushwaha says that right now when the cases of Corona is increasing again, those who return will also get work according to their skills. Archana Kushwaha’s Champaran Creations has sold over 30,000 sarees.
Firoz Kaishar, owner of Rani Ratan has sold more than 70,000 leggings, kurtee and plazo. He also used to sell his product through Amazon & Flipkart and he is in top 25% on Flipkart.
Navneet Raj, the owner of ADR Shirts, said he is “regularly in touch with retailers of Bihar, UP and Delhi about my brand”. “My plan is to generate revenue of Rs 25 crore by 2024. “There is enough demand from the local market in Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh and Nepal. The workers brought home their fine skills and I am attaching local youth as interns with the experts. If demand rises, the production can be easily scaled up,” says Raj.
Anand Kumar, an owner of Aarti Industries, deals in Utensils, closed his two factories in Delhi and invested at the startup zone at Chanpatia. “Getting such an opportunity to work at home is something I was looking for years. I shifted all the machines and inventory here from Delhi after knowing about initiative. My products are being supplied to various states in the country and Nepal also, he said. Two brothers, Anand and Arvind, had shifted their entire factory setup for making stainless steel from Delhi to their home district. Today, they make utensils like pressure cookers, plates, tumblers, etc.
Aamil Husain, 35, who used to work in Dubai in a textile company and returned after the first wave of Covid-19. With the support of district administration, he started his own brand called Sufiya Textile and now his company supplies orders in local markets as well as neighboring states. “I had no clue after coming back here. The situation started turning grimmer day by day and I lost all hopes to go back to work. During the skill mapping test started by local authorities, I got an opportunity to interact with top officials who helped me a lot in setting up my company. The officials kept in touch and provided the platform needed to develop the business initially. Now, we are getting huge orders and working continuously to fulfill demand from local markets, he said.
Abulesh, a resident of Gaunaha village in Bihar’s west Champaran district, relied on his very indomitable will to begin manufacturing bats made of Kashmir willow in his hometown. When the nationwide lockdown was imposed in view of the corona virus pandemic last year, Abulesh first felt that life would come to a standstill. After quitting his job as a bat-maker in Anantnag, Jammu and Kashmir, he returned to his native West Champaran district. Abulesh was fortunate that his unique skill in making world-class bats, honed in Anantnag, was recognized by the district administration. As part of a start-up zone for Covid-hit workers returning to Bihar, the administration helped him set up a bat-manufacturing unit in West Champaran itself. Today these bats, priced between Rs 800 and Rs 1200, are in great demand in other cities as well and are sold under the brand name WC, a tribute to West Champaran. District administration has helped Abulesh acquire the basic machinery to manufacture bats and a bank loan to fuel his entrepreneurial dreams. Being highly experienced in bat-making, Abulesh and lalbabu, another migrant worker who worked in Anantnag, source the willow that is used to make the best-quality bats from Kashmir, as well as the sports goods manufacturing hub of Meerut in Uttar Pradesh.
Shivendra Nath Pandey, equipped with an MBA and LLM degree, returned from Delhi after the lockdown without a job. Today, he runs Champ Dignity, which makes sanitary pads. “I started this business about 20 days ago and have employed close to 50 women. In a day, we fulfil orders close to 1,000 sanitary pads. With the number of orders growing by the day, I’m looking to purchase another machine to enhance production,” he says. Meanwhile, Abulesh, who quit his job as a cricket bat maker in Anantnag, Kashmir, has teamed up with fellow migrant worker Lalbabu. Utilising the famous Kashmir willow, they run a manufacturing unit, which sells bats costing anywhere between Rs 800 and Rs 1,200.
Shoaib, who opened his company called Lasani Fashion, which makes both gents’ and ladies’ wear. “We opened shop here after getting our business loan sanctioned by the Central Bank of India thanks to DM Sir’s assistance. One of our first orders was for 40,000 tracksuits to a buyer in Ladakh. We are on the cusp of exporting 5,000 jackets to buyers in Spain. At present, my company employs nearly 50 people. But there are plans afoot to set up a washing plant here and another small plant for printing work on T-Shirts. In the coming months, I expect to employ close to 100 people. We are deeply thankful to DM Sir for what he has done for us,” says Shoaib.
These are only a few examples of workers who turned into entrepreneurs. They have grown from workers to owners and their happiness is palpable because there exists a real sense of ownership.
प्राइम मिनिस्टर्स अवार्ड, 2021
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