The likes of FabIndia that succeeded in providing a chic look to the ubiquitous kurtas
would soon have competition from the Khadi and Village Industries Commission as it has not only decided to employ fashion-designers to introduce contemporary designs, patterns and colours in fabrics and garments, but also go in for an complete image makeover of its over 7,000 outlets.
The move, aimed at modernising and strengthening its production and marketing arms, also envisages the deployment of trained salesman to present the hand-woven, hand-spun fabric in a new light for customers, especially youth who account for 60 per cent of the country's population.
No wonder then, Kumud Joshi, chairperson of KVIC, agrees, saying 'the sale of khadi
is crucial to its revival'. The effort to provide technical know-how and PRODIP assistance has started showing desired results. "We need to synchronise our efforts with the worldwide shift from polyester to cotton and cash in on the growing demand for khadi
—a natural, easy-to-wear fabric that is far more comfortable than cotton," she said while talking to newspersons during her three-day maiden visit to the state.
Joshi said that as khadi
and village industries had a huge potential to generate rural employment the KVIC was trying to provide organised marketing facilities, both domestic and export, for groups of entrepreneurs. Besides Export House status, KVIC plans to develop its programmes as hubs of associated activities and go in for setting up of khadi
Estates on the pattern of industrial parks.
When pointed towards the lack of financial muscle required for meeting market challenges, she said, "Convergence of different social welfare and employment programmes run by different ministries is our new mantra. We have already succeeded in impressing on the need to channelise funds for delivering the results, ie poverty alleviation and rural employment, through the KVIC institutions. A few villages have been selected for the purpose and soon this successful model would be replicated on a largescale."
In the next two years, KVIC hopes to generate 20 lakh jobs in the country. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, too, is hopeful about the success of such a model, which has the potential to tackle migration at grassroots level, she said and added 'economic-administrative reasons for the weakness of khadi
institutions have been identified and steps are afoot for the revival.'
Earlier, a delegation of weavers, led by Congress leader Gufran Azam Ansari, met KVIC chairperson to apprise her of their problems.