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Government has taken many steps for welfare of minorities: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi

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By NewsGram Staff-Writer

New Delhi: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the Minister of State for Minority Affairs, said on Monday that the Union government has taken several steps for ensuring the welfare of minorities.

“The government has taken several steps for overall development of underprivileged, poor sections, including minorities,” he said at a book launch function here.

Naqvi said that the USTAAD scheme, which aims at capacity building and updating the traditional skills of master craftsmen and artisans, was one of the important initiatives taken for the welfare of the minorities, especially the Muslim community.

The scheme would be helpful in providing a platform to publicize and showcase traditional skills, arts, and crafts of minority communities, he said.

“This initiative will provide a broad market for arts and crafts of minorities,” the minister said.

Speaking on the occasion, Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla said her ministry would take help from expert knowledge partners like National Institute of Fashion Technology, National Institute of Design, Indian Institute of Crafts and Design, ACCESS Development Services, and Export Promotion Councils in order to make its scheme a success.

Earlier, the book “India’s Creative Continuum – Minority Communities in Craft” was released by Minister of State in the PMO Jitendra Singh.

Reiterating the government’s commitment to empower minorities, Singh said that the focus of the central government was to create employability and employment simultaneously.

“The documentation of traditional arts/crafts of minorities and promoting the masters of the crafts will help in preserving, protecting, and promoting,” he said.

In the ongoing exhibition-cum-sale of traditional crafts and skills, there was a display of 18 traditional skills from various states including Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh.

(With inputs from IANS)

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400-year-old Ship Wreckage Filled With Indian Spices Found in Portugal

The wreck was found as part of a 10-year-old archaeological project backed by the municipal council of Cascais, the navy, the Portuguese government and Nova University of Lisbon.

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A divers takes photos of some of the items found after the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais, Portugal. VOA

Archaeologists searching Portugal’s coast have found a 400-year-old shipwreck believed to have sunk near Lisbon after returning from India laden with spices, specialists said on Monday.

“From a heritage perspective, this is the discovery of the decade,” project director Jorge Freire said. “In Portugal, this is the most important find of all time.”

In and around the shipwreck, 40 feet (12 meters) below the surface, divers found spices, nine bronze cannons engraved with the Portuguese coat of arms, Chinese ceramics and cowry shells, a type of currency used to trade slaves during the colonial era.

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One of the nine nine bronze cannons engraved with the Portuguese coat of arms found by divers around a shipwreck near Cascais, Portugal. VOA

Found on Sept. 3 off the coast of Cascais, a resort town on the outskirts of Lisbon, the shipwreck and its objects were “very well-preserved,” said Freire.

Freire and his team believe the ship was wrecked between 1575 and 1625, when Portugal’s spice trade with India was at its peak.

In 1994, Portuguese ship Our Lady of the Martyrs was discovered near Fort of Sao Juliao da Barra, a military defense complex near Cascais.

“For a long time, specialists have considered the mouth of the Tagus river a hotspot for shipwrecks,” said Minister of Culture Luis Mendes. “This discovery came to prove it.”

Also Read: Gene Therapy Wins Big At Portugal’s Champalimaud Foundation

The wreck was found as part of a 10-year-old archaeological project backed by the municipal council of Cascais, the navy, the Portuguese government and Nova University of Lisbon. (VOA)

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