Khadi for nation, khadi for fashion: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to promote the signature fabric of India has caught on.
Central and state employees may soon have to sport khadi – once a week at least. The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), which promotes use of the cotton fabric, has requested all chief ministers to appeal to their employees to wear khadi once a week, say, every Friday. It earlier made a similar request to the Centre.
“This will greatly support the khadi sector and rural artisans will get sustainable additional employment. The state government employees will also get the benefit of wearing skin-friendly natural fabric,” reads KVIC chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena’s letter to CMs.
States such as Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat have already decided that government employees should wear khadi one day a week, although it has not been made mandatory.
With the Modi government’s push for using khadi – associated with India’s freedom struggle – finding takers, the KVIC is on an overdrive to promote its products. The last seven months has seen a deluge of orders for KVIC products.
Starting from the Prime Minister’s Office (see box) that has placed orders over `30 lakh for handmade paper file cover and khadi dresses for its staff to the railways that in the past eight months placed orders of `40 crore for supply of six lakh bedsheets, eight lakh pillow covers and 75,000 blankets, the KVIC has its hands full.
In November, for a global conference that it organised in Delhi, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) ordered gifts packs comprising tie and scarf for delegates. Ahead of the International Yoga Day on June 21, KVIC supplied kits worth `71 lakh to various ministries, PSUs, corporate and even political parties.
PSUs under the petroleum ministry have placed order for 50,000 small towels. Instructions have also been issued to PSUs to ask employees to wear Khadi once a week.
“This is a far cry from the situation prevailing over a year back. Earlier, orders from the railways never exceeded `2 crore. Where our spinners and weavers had just 3-5 hours of work, it has now gone upto 8 hours. In the last eight months alone, orders worth `110 crore has been placed with KVIC,” Saxena said.