Govt spins khadi story for India’s growing soft power
Plans to promote khadi as an international brand, with a focus on the diaspora
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.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spins the charkha at the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad