Govt spins khadi story for In­dia’s grow­ing soft power

Plans to pro­mote khadi as an in­ter­na­tional brand, with a fo­cus on the di­as­pora

Business Standard - - ECONOMY & FINANCE - SANJEEB MUKHER­JEE

Af­ter yoga, the Naren­dra Modi gov­ern­ment will pro­mote khadi as an in­ter­na­tional brand, with a fo­cus on the di­as­pora.

Ac­cord­ing to a strat­egy ap­proved by the Cen­tre, the min­istry of mi­cro, small and medium en­ter­prises (MSME) might en­cour­age and in­cen­tivise In­di­ans set­tled abroad or those of In­dian ori­gin to op­er­ate khadi out­lets and shops.

In the first phase, the min­istry plans to ex­hibit ‘Brand Khadi’ in all em­bassies and con­sulate of­fices, ei­ther within the premises or out­side. The ex­hi­bi­tions would show­case khadi prod­ucts and items, with de­tails on pro­duc­tion and value for vil­lages.

In the sec­ond phase, the min­istry plans to tar­get the di­as­pora through reg­u­lar in­ter­ven­tions and ex­hi­bi­tions, be­sides par­tic­i­pat­ing in their so­cial func­tions, to pub­li­cise khadi. In the third and fi­nal stage, there would be col­lab­o­ra­tions with the depart­ment of com­merce to boost ex­port of khadi. The pro­posal was re­cently ap­proved by Kal­raj Mishra, the min­is­ter for MSME.

“A lot of ef­forts have been made to take khadi abroad as a brand from In­dia but none could suc­ceed. This time, a fullfledged ac­tion plan has been de­vised, with fixed time­lines, to en­sure khadi be­comes In­dia’s next big soft power af­ter yoga,” Shailesh Vats, spokesper­son of

the min­istry, told Busi­ness Stan­dard.

The cen­tral gov­ern­ment aims to in­crease the pro­duc­tion of khadi to ~2,000 crore in terms of mar­ket value in 2017-18, de­scribed as help­ing to gen­er­ate ad­di­tional em­ploy­ment of 1.95 mil­lion peo­ple, pri­mar­ily in ru­ral In­dia. In 2014-15, pro­duc­tion was es­ti­mated at ~880 crore in mar­ket value; in 2015-16, at ~1,066 crore, in 2016-17, to ~1,396 crore. Sales were ~1,170 crore in FY15 and ~1,510 crore in FY16. In FY17, it jumped 32.8 per cent to ~2,006 crore, min­is­ter of state for MSME, Giri­raj Singh, told Par­lia­ment re­cently.

The Cen­tre has granted fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance of ~25 lakh per unit in ur­ban ar­eas and ~20 lakh in ru­ral ar­eas for ren­o­va­tion and moderni­sa­tion of sales out­lets un­der the Khadi and Vil­lage In­dus­tries Cor­po­ra­tion. It has also signed agree­ments with the Na­tional In­sti­tute of Fash­ion Tech­nol­ogy, the Aditya Birla Group and Ray­mond to boost the qual­ity and sales of khadi prod­ucts.

PTI FILE PHOTO

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi spins the charkha at the Sabar­mati Ashram in Ahmedabad

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