A Tool of Economic Freedom For Rural Masses

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     It has provided much needed impetus to this fantastic fabric with introduction and implementation of Khadi Mark – a quality and standard check.
    In an exclusive interview with  Sandali , Desai spoke about role of Khadi Mark, current state of Khadi, rural employment, and its future potentials.  Excerpts:

    After six decades of independence, Khadi has assumed a brand identity in the marketplace. How do you analyse this change?
    To understand the relevance of Khadi, it is very important to go beyond the fabric. Khadi is not merely a piece of cloth. It is a symbol of empowerment and pride in our history. Hand spun, hand woven, purity and elegance are the essential characteristics of Khadi. As a fabric, it has evolved and come a long way from its traditional form “Khaddar.” 
    Khadi offers many design variations and this quality makes the fabric a global entity. With hand-woven and eco-dyed fabric, the possibilities are endless. Khadi fabric looks elegant when kept simple. The innovative use of Khadi in main stream fashion has strongly influenced the image of Khadi which was once seen as a plain fabric. In the given situation Khadi has its own market potential among the youth segment also.

    What is the share of Khadi in the overall domestic cotton industry?
    Khadi is estimated to constitute less than 1% of India’s textile industry. The growth in production and sales of Khadi is marginal compared to the increase in the production of textile at a compound growth rate of 7% in volume and 15% in value. The textile industry has made tremendous strides with the adoption of modern technology, branding, and savy marketing. However, the two main hurdles in our country– poverty and unemployment could not be removed by promoting industries like textile.

    How many Khadi institutions are involved in its propagation of this business providing employment opportunities especially to women?
    There are nearly 2500 Khadi institutions implementing Khadi programme all over the country and providing employment to nearly 10.50 lakh artisans. Khadi programme which was started by the Father of the Nation has been providing employment opportunities to the unemployed and under employed people in the rural areas of the country. Around 80% of the Khadi artisans are women and one third of Khadi artisans belong to socially backward and tribal communities.

    Have Khadi and village industries got the potential to provide work without displacing the artisans from the root? 
    Sure, KVIC is operating at the grass root level in remote rural areas including hill and border provinces providing employment opportunity to the poorest of poor, creating a feeling of self-reliance and building up strong community spirit in the rural masses. It is also necessary to understand that Khadi was the tool of freedom. And the fabric still remains a tool of economic freedom for the rural masses.

    Do you feel that Khadi programme throughout the country is working as a potential tool for generating employment at the door steps of rural artisans with extremely low capital investment?
    Khadi has been a source of livelihood for lakh of spinners, weavers and other artisans. KVIC has all along been playing a commendable role at the grass root level, by providing employment opportunities to the most needy traditional artisans and entrepreneurs in the rural areas. In the backdrop of the declining capacity of the agricultural sector in absorbing the ever increasing additional labour force in the rural non-farm sector, KVI programmes stand as one of the most acceptable alternatives. In the light of present global scenario, KVIC has been making all out efforts for inducting appropriate technology and infrastructure into the sector.

    What are the future plans to make Khadi more popular in India?
    The Khadi Mark Regulations, 2013 notified in the gazette of India includes engagement of persons (who can be an individual, a firm, a company, an association of persons, etc) to carryout production or sale or trading of Khadi products. This would enable large number of aforesaid entities to get involved in the Khadi activity in the coming days which will enhance its visibility in the market. The mark will increase popularity of Khadi among all consumers, young generations as well.

    How will Khadi Mark as a novel initiative ensure the quality and genuineness of a Khadi product?
    Khadi Mark is certainly a good initiative. The mark authenticates the quality and genuineness of Khadi and its products as defined in the KVIC Act. The quality and genuineness will be verified through certification process in case of certified Khadi institutions and through accredited agencies of KVIC in case of persons other than the certified Khadi institutions.

    You have also drawn a programme in association with Asian Development Bank (ADB). Please share some details.
    The Khadi reform package implemented with assistance from ADB also comprise of initiatives like production of Khadi through NGOs formed under Producer Company (model) for which necessary assistance to set up the unit is earmarked in the reform programme. In such new model the artisans (primary producers) would themselves become owner of the organization.

    HIGHLIGHTER: KVIC is operating at the grassroot level in remote rural areas including hill and border provinces providing employment opportunities to the poorest of poor

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