BK Jha with Sandali analyses forces and factors which are driving the growth of Khadi : he word, ‘Khadi’, has a deep emotional connect with every Indian. It conjures up feelings of national pride as it has an admirable history behind it. It is synonymous with our freedom struggle – both as a symbol of self reliance and a credible instrument for rejuvenation of the rural sector. Khadi instantly brings to our minds its profound association with Mahatma Gandhi who had called it ‘the sun of the village solar system.” (Mahatma Gandhi in Harijan, 16-11-1934).
The greatest promoter of Khadi, Mahatma Gandhi had talked about ‘Khadi Mission’, and ‘Khadi Spirit.’ According to him, “the ‘khadi spirit’ quintessenatially stands for infinite patience. For those who have some idea about khadi production, know it well how patiently the spinners and the weavers have to toil at their trade.
Now cut to the present day wherein Khadi has begun making waves as a business and is increasingly becoming an ‘in’ thing for fashion connoisseurs. As per the Ministry of Micro and Small Enterprises ( MSME) estimates, Khadi business is expected to touch Rs 895 in the current fiscal which is over 16% higher than the previous year. The business is assuming a robust trajectory and is expected to cross Rs 1200 crore by 2016-17. Indications are, if the present trends continue, this business will contribute considerably to make life better for our villagers engaged in spinning and weaving on one hand and young fashion aficionados will have something very trendy and elegant in their wardrobe to boast upon.
A Khadi revolution in the offing ?
Perhaps yes. With introduction of ‘ Khadi Mark’ as quality and standard check, Khadi business is set to acquire new dimension where those engaged in the business can strengthen their products positing, branding and marketing in an expanding market. “Khadi is now being well accepted in India and is doing very well in exports. So I feel it is profitable as both domestic and international markets can be explored with this fabric,”says Nitya Bajaj, New Delhi based fashion designer.
Khadi reforms have been strongly pushed by KH Muniyappa Minister of State, MSME .The sector is also slated to get a major boost from the introduction of Khadi Mark which was launched by President Pranab Mukherjee recently.
Khadi Mark :
The Khadi Mark will indicate the quality and genuineness of a Khadi product. It will provide a distinct identity for positioning and brand building in the domestic and international textile markets. Khadi Mark Regulation, 2013 has made it mandatory for institutions and persons involved in the production and sale of Khadi to use this mark. The logo symbolises the purity and genuineness of Khadi. The wheel represents the ‘charkha’, depicting a medium for transformation of rural lives. It will prove to be truly beneficial to the customers in buying genuine Khadi and to the producers in improving their living standards.
It is an initiative of Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) through its agency Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC). “Khadi Mark would prove to be truly beneficial to the customers in buying genuine Khadi and to the producers in improving their living standards and it would help to fully realize the growth potential of the Khadi sector,” KVIC Chairman Devendra Desai says.
Khadi has the unique capability to create employment at the dwelling place of artisans with very low capital requirement. Khadi has over the years kindled hope for over a million artisan families to rise above deprivation and backwardness.
“Government is supporting implementation of Khadi programmes throughout the country and it is now considered as a potential tool for generating employment at the door steps of rural artisans with extremely low capital investment,” Muniyappa says.
“It remains an important vehicle for the development of rural India. There are at present around 10.45 lakh Khadi artisans of which seventy per cent are women,” adds Desai.
There are around 2300 Khadi institutions all across the country involved in the propagation of Khadi, providing employment opportunities to over 10.71 lakh artisans (mostly women), to earn their livelihood. The KVI sector comprising of khadi and village industries is so far providing employment to more than 1 crore artisans, entrepreneurs and their families living in rural areas.
PMEGP:Under the monitoring and overall supervision of KVIC, 5000 institutions are working at the grassroot level for the most needy traditional artisans and entrepreneurs in the rural areas, and around 2300 of them are working for the development of Khadi. KRDP: A comprehensive reform package of Rs.717 crore initiated by the Ministry under Khadi Reform and Development Programme (KRDP) funded by Asian Development Bank enables the Khadi sector to compete in the market. Under this Programme (KRDP), direct assistance to 300 existing Khadi institutions will be extended and 50 new Khadi institutions will be organized and managed on entrepreneurship model.