Modi's push & KVIC's innovative ideas boom Khadi sales

New Delhi (IANS) Imagine a woman wearing Patola saree from Gujarat and matching Khadi foot wears, or a trendy wrist watch of Khadi. It is not just imagination anymore because Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) is doing all that it takes to make Khadi cool and trendy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for using Khadi more, has played a crucial role in its promotion.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi should be given full credit for promoting Khadi post-independence. He specially urged people on many occasions including in his 'Mann ki Baat' programme for using Khadi. Consequently, people started adopting Khadi," V.K. Saxena, Chairman, KVIC, told IANS.

He said that Khadi -- a precious gift of Mahatma Gandhi to the people of India, remained in oblivion post independence. "But now it is resurging after PM's call," he said.

In 1956, Khadi Commission was constituted. That time, Khadi's production was around 0.56 million square meters. After a long journey of 63 years, in 2014 its production reached 105 million square meters. In 2018-19, 171 million square metres of khadi was produced.

"Its production reached from 0.56 to 105 in 63 years while it increased by 65 million square meters within 5 years that speaks volumes about its popularity in PM's tenure," said Saxena.

Talking about the average sales of Khadi he said, "the average sales of Khadi was 6.68 per cent during 2004 to 2014. It never touched the double digit. In 2014 Khadi's growth was in minus but after 2015, it is growing at the rate of 28 per cent. He told IANS that in 2014-15 Khadi's turnover was Rs 811 crore which increased up to Rs 3,215 crore in 2019. We are now trying to take it to Rs 5,000 crore in this financial year.

Khadi India store in Connaught place is KVIC's flagship store. It has been 40 years since it was built.

"The sale never went beyond 40 lakh in one day before 2014. But last year it broke all records with sales recorded of 1.27 crore in one day on October 2. It also surpassed mark of 1 crore sales thrice in October 2019. We keep innovating and experimenting at our flagship store in Connaught Place," said the chairman.

According to Saxena, Khadi registered record sale of 1.22 crore in just one day after Modi's appeal to people for adopting Khadi in Ludhiana on 22 October 2016.

New experiments and innovations have given Khadi a very important place in youth's wardrobes.

Now-a-days, Khadi is manufacturing one of the best quality denims. Unlike the past, it is no more associated only with few sections of people like leaders or elderly.

"We are using the latest technologies and providing training to artisans which has improved the quality of the product," Saxena said, adding: "Khadi is attracting specially youths because it is the most environment friendly fabric. One serves the environment and artisans of the country in a great way by adopting Khadi. They live in remote areas, without any infrastructure but one "Charkha" or loom of Khadi generates employment opportunities for them."

"Companies like Raymonds and Arvind Mills purchase millions of meters of Khadi fabric these days. We have also signed an agreement with Titan. They are manufacturing 'Khadi watches'. Such innovations have given Khadi a new platform," he Saxena said.

Khadi commission conducts awareness programmes across the country and emphasizes its importance.

But the greatest power of Khadi that it reaches out to inaccessible areas. "We have established centres in remote areas of Leh Laddakh, Sundarban islands in West Bengal, North East and have given employment to the people. This is the power of Khadi and this is what Gandhiji always dreamed of... that if our villages are strong our economy will be automatically strong," Saxena concluded.

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