Upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional Arts Crafts for Development (USTTAD)

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The Ministry of Minority Affairs has launched a new plan, “Upgrading Skills and Training in Traditional Arts and Crafts for Development” (USTTAD), which aims, among other things, to preserve and promote the heritage of minority arts and traditional trades develop the capacity of traditional artisans and artisans. The program aims to build capacity and improve the traditional skills of master craftsmen and artisans.

Under the program, the Ministry of Minority Affairs has entrusted NIFT with a project aimed at training and improving the skills of artisans belonging to minority communities, thereby preserving the traditional arts and crafts of their ancestors. NIFT as a knowledge partner for USTTAD has identified crafts predominantly practised by minority communities and supports the Ministry of Minority Affairs through various activities such as documentation of crafts, establishing standards to define “master craftsman” or “USTAAD” for identified crafts, product development course curriculum development and Design workshops for potential craftsmen and trainees, product range development and enabling connections to e-marketing portals to provide platforms for selling developed products.

Objectives of the scheme

The objectives of the USTTAD program are listed below:

  1. Developing the capacity of artisans and artisans through training the young generation.
  2. Setting standards for identified trades, crafts and their documentation
  3. Preserve the legacy of traditional minority handicrafts
  4. Connecting traditional skills to the global marketplace.
  5. Increasing the employability of existing workers, school dropouts etc.
  6. Creating a better livelihood for marginalized minorities.
  7. Empower minorities to take advantage of opportunities in the global marketplace.
  8. The presentation of traditional handicraft and handicraft skills, including culinary skills, through the exhibition, also provides a platform for expanding business opportunities.

Scope of the scheme

The program aims at developing capacity and improving the skills of traditional artisans and craftsmen. These skilled artisans and craftsmen will train youth belonging to the minority community in various specific traditional arts and crafts. Under USTTAD, the Skills Development Program is implemented by the Ministry of Minorities for all significant traditional arts and crafts practised by the minority community.

Duration of the scheme

The duration of the training is a minimum of two months and a maximum of one year, depending on the traditional art or craft chosen. The course includes training in social skills, IT and spoken English, depending on the level of the students.

Eligibility criteria

For trainee

The following are the eligibility criteria required for the trainee to participate in the program:

  1. The applicant must belong to the minority community.
  2. The applicant’s age range must be between 14 and 35 years old.
  3. The applicant must have passed at least a fifth standard.


The program is implemented through  Project Implementation Agencies (PIAs) who are selected based on the following criteria:

  1. Any company registered under the Companies Registration Act and experienced in delivering traditional skills development courses.
  2. Any recognized private institution runs such traditional continuing education courses for at least three years.
  3. Any industry association such as ASSOCHAM, CII, FICCI, etc. Anyone willing to run such training centres can apply to the program.
  4. All government institutions, including training institutes, universities and public sector companies, that have the capacity to run such a training program are eligible to apply for the program.

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