Textiles and apparel sector has made a significant contribution by providing both direct and indirect employment to almost 35 and 50 million Indians respectively, making it the largest employment sector after agriculture. This makes Khadi an important segment for concentrating towards export promotion. A round-table discussion on taking KHADI: Local to Global was organised by Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) on Tuesday with support from Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) and Udaan Skill.
The event focused on connecting the global demand and supply of Khadi, identifying newer markets and product diversification; developing promotional strategies to enter newer markets, inputs on trade policy, market access at WTO front, compliances, design interventions and possibilities of CSR (corporate social responsibility) interventions from corporates and public sector undertakings (PSUs).
Speaking on the occasion, Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister for Commerce and Industry said, “The export prospects of Khadi is rest assured with world moving towards natural and eco-friendly products. More and more people are becoming conscious of responsibility towards the environment and ecology and greater demand is being generated for bio-degradable and eco-friendly products. It is for this reason the new MEIS (Merchandise Exports from India Scheme) 2015-20 policy also emphasises on export incentives on eco-friendly textiles giving it a 34 per cent growth last years from 52,000 crore to 70,000 crore turn over.”
The Minister further added that this round-table discussion on “Khadi exports” is pertinent considering the fact that while textile sector being the largest source of employment generation in India contributing to country’s 15 per cent exports; share of Khadi sector is very low (less than 0.22 per cent) in total textile sector. Hence, focus on exports of this sector becomes important. End to end marketing strategy with support from trading houses and academic institutes like IIFT is the need of the hour, he said.
VK Saxena, Chairman, Khadi and Village Industries Commission explained about the diversity of efforts made by KVIC towards promotion of Khadi right from meeting the issues on raw material procurement, wage levels of rural artisans, technological and design interventions and making it a sustainable and export worthy segment. “Its export worthiness also comes from the fact that Indian Khadi earns a lot of water and carbon foot print since it requires only three litres of water as compared to 56 liters in other fabrics” said Saxena.
“Apart from the supply side constraints for raw material procurement and production, there is also a strong need for establishing a strong demand in global markets. This will require the innovation in terms of diversification in product and market. Lack of product diversification is quite visible through limited export basket of Khadi which currently includes silk and muslin, ready-made garments, textile-based Khadi and charkha. IIFT with a strong research capability can contribute towards establishing a market intelligence and give inputs on appropriate policy instruments and contribute towards cluster development,” said, Prof. Manoj Pant, Director, IIFT.
Sepaking on the occasion, Dr. Tamanna Chaturvedi, Co-ordinator, KITTES, the start-up incubation cell at IIFT, said, “Giving boost to export start-ups, KITTES would aim at developing new start-ups working towards Khadi exports.”