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Editorial Articles


Renewed Focus and Added Thrust on Khadi & Village Industry

Arun Khurana

Khadi is the proud legacy of our national freedom movement and the father of the nation. Khadi and Village Industries (KVI) are two national heritages of India. One of the most significant aspects of KVI in Indian economy is that it creates employment at a very low per capita investment. The KVI Sector not only serves the basic needs of processed goods of the vast rural sector of the country, but also provides sustainable employment to rural artisans. KVI today represent an exquisite, heritage product, which is ‘ethnic’ as well as ‘ethical’. The Sector has a potentially strong clientele among the middle and upper echelons of the society. KVIC has three main objectives which guide its functioning. These are:
*The Social Objective - Providing employment in rural areas
*The Economic Objective - Providing salable articles
*The Wider Objective - Creating self-reliance amongst people and building up a strong rural community spirit.
Schemes and Programs of KVIC include:
*Prime Ministers Employment Generation Program (PMEGP)
*Interest Subsidy Eligibility Certification Scheme (ISEC)
*Rebate Scheme
Role of KVIC
Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC) established under the    Khadi    and    Village     Industries Commission Act, 1956 (61of 1956), is a statutory organization under the aegis of the M/o MSME, engaged in promoting and developing Khadi and Village Industries (KVI) for providing employment opportunities in the rural areas, thereby strengthening the rural economy. KVIC has been identified as one of the major organizations in the decentralized sector for generating sustainable non–farm employment opportunities in rural areas at a low per capita investment. It undertakes activities like skill improvement, transfer of technology, research & development, marketing etc. and helps in generating employment/self-employment opportunities in rural areas.
Khadi institutions provide employment to about a million artisans across the country. Studies suggest that the market potential for Khadi goods - especially as uniforms for schools, railways and hotels - stands at about $6 billion in India. Plus, there is a 24-million strong middle class with potential purchasing power that is keen to explore options beyond malls and branded goods. With the changed market dynamics, and technological innovations in the field, market analysts predict the fabric can become an economically viable one for manufacturers, distributors as well as buyers. Such optimism notwithstanding, experts feel that a comprehensive and sustainable roadmap to revive the sector is an important prerequisite to usher in lasting change. As per the Dastkari Haat Samiti, a non-profit that works with craftspeople to promote traditional crafts, believes that any technological advancement that helps poor artisans improve their productivity and enhance incomes is a welcome development. However the government needs to ensure that apart from providing solar charkhas, a blueprint is also drawn up for the revival of craftsmanship in India. We need to turn the cottage industry into a successful enterprise through modern design development and provisioning of market linkages.
The principal objectives of the KVIC is to promote non- farm employment opportunities in rural areas mainly for the weaker sections of the society, such as women, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, minorities etc., for the overall betterment of rural areas. Khadi and Village Industries Commission functions at the national level and there are respective State Khadi and Village Industries Boards in the different States to achieve the broad objective of rural development. The State Khadi and Village Industries Boards are funded from the Khadi and Village Industries Commission for implementation of KVIC schemes, in accordance with its norms/guidelines. Khadi and Village Industries Commission is also charged with the responsibility of building up of a reserve of raw materials and implements for supply to producers, creation of common service facilities for processing of raw materials as semi finished goods and provisions of facilities for marketing of Khadi and Village Industries products apart from organizing of training of artisans engaged in these industries and encouragement of co-operative efforts among them. KVIC also looks in to encouraging and promoting research in the production techniques and equipment employed in the Khadi and Village Industries sector. Further, the KVIC is entrusted with the task of providing financial assistance to institutions and individuals for development and operation of Khadi and Village Industries and guiding them through supply of designs, prototypes and other technical information. The central office of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission is at Mumbai, with one Zonal office at Guwahati and twenty nine State offices, Functional Directorates have been constituted to co-ordinate the functions like training, marketing, accounts, Khadi economic research and Rural Employment Generation Programme (REGP).  Khadi and Village Industries Commission also undertakes sales activities through its twelve departmentally run Khadi Gramodyog Bhawans and around 7050 institutional sales outlets located in different parts of the country. Six Central Sliver Plants provide quality raw materials to the different Khadi institutions. Khadi and Village Industries programmes are implemented through around 5549 registered institutions, co-operative societies, 33 State/Union Territories (UTs), Khadi and Village Industries Boards (KVIBs), and 27 Public Sector Banks, Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) and a few selected Co-Operative Banks. The Khadi programme is implemented through institutions registered either with the KVIC or the State Khadi and Village Industries Boards. In the case of Village Industries, the Khadi and Village Industries Commission implements the Rural Employment Generation Programme (REGP). Khadi and Village Industries Commission play a creditable part in promoting improved technology in Khadi and Village Industries and thereby helping artisans in various industries to derive higher incomes.
It is proposed that the Khadi and Village Industries Board should take further action on these programmes in consultation with State Governments and other organizations engaged in the field of village industries. The programmes have been prepared on the basis of a period of four years being available for their implementation.
*Village oil industry - The programme for this industry envisages a common production programme for village oil presses and for oil mills. The production of ghanis is proposed to be raised from 10 to 13-8 lakh tons of seed pressing. This will involve some diversion of seeds now pressed by mills and substitution of them by cotton seeds. It is suggested that 1,200 village oil centres, each serving a group of 40 to 50 villages and about 50 village oil presses may be organized. Inefficient types of village oil presses are to be replaced by efficient types. A research and training institute and five regional training centres are proposed for training artisans in the manufacture and repair of improved oil presses and for generally improving the efficiency of the village oil industry. Apart from giving greater employment to village artisans, this industry is expected to improve the nutrition of the rural population by supplying fresh and pure oil which has become difficult to obtain owing to the widespread practice of adulteration in the mill oil.
*Soap-making with neem oil - This is a small scheme, the main object of which is to utilize material now going waste. The scheme aims at establishing production-cum-demonstration centres in different States where neem oil will be produced and utilized in soap manufacture. It provides for 11 neem units, each unit consisting of 1 soapery and 7 neem pressing centres producing a total of 1260 maunds of neem oil and utilizing it for the production of about 78 tons of soap per year.
*Paddy husking - Hand-pounding of rice is an important village industry even to this day. It processes about 65 per cent of the paddy, the mills processing the remaining 35 per cent. The programme aims at improving the hand process for increased recovery of rice and production of bran in a pure form by the introduction of paddy husking stone chakkis in place of the pounding method. It is recommended that over a period of four years the distribution of about 50,000 chakkis in rice pounding areas might be subsidized. Research is proposed to be carried out for evolving suitable implements for paddy husking such as paddy separator, a better type of chakki which can reduce breakage etc. It is also proposed that rice mills of the huller type should be gradually eliminated.
*Palm gur - The scheme for the development of palm gur envisages increase in production to the extent of about 80,000 tons of gur. This will afford employment to about 60,000 rural workers. The scheme provides for training and research and an element of subsidy may also be necessary.
*Gur and khandsari - These are well-established village industries. The object of the programme is to extend the use of improved types of cane crushers to obtain a higher percentage of extraction. It is proposed that over a period of four years about 100,000 improved cane crushers should be introduced. The introduction of small centrifuges for the manufacture of khandsari is also suggested.
*Leather - The object of this scheme is to minimize waste due to the incomplete utilization of dead animals. The four-year programme provides for recovery work, tanning, leather craft in municipal areas and in adjoining rural areas and also for the organization of co-operatives of village leather workers.
*Woolen blankets - It is proposed that four wool spinning and weaving centres may be established for developing hand-spinning and hand-weaving for the production of woolen blankets required by the defence services. The centres may be run by State Governments or by co-operatives. It is suggested that carding and finishing should be done by machinery operated by power, but the spinning and weaving should be done by hand.
*Hand-made paper - The programme suggests the production at 11 existing centres of the varieties of high-grade hand-made paper which are at present imported. These centres should be assisted in respect of equipment, training and research. Pulp-making is proposed to be done by power-operated machines, while other processes will be done by hand.
*Bee-keeping - The intensive development of bee-keeping is proposed in selected areas in States in which the industry has already made some progress, for instance, Madras, Bombay, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Mysore, Travancore-Cochin and Coorg. In each selected area there may be a sub-station serving a group of 20 to 30 villages. The scheme provides for training of staff and bee-keepers and for supply at subsidized rates of bee-hives and other appliances. Co-operatives of bee-keepers are envisaged in each sub-station for collecting and marketing of the honey produced by the members.
*Cottage match industry - The scheme aims at increasing the production of the cottage match industry from about 0.6 million gross to about i .8 million gross at the end of four years. This result is to be achieved through provision of training and certain concessions as also financial assistance to cottage match manufacturers.
*Khadi - Certain tentative proposals for the Khadi programme have been prepared, but these have to be considered by the proposed Khadi and Village Industries Board.
*Coir - The depressed state of the coir industry in Travancore-Cochin calls for special action for the reorganization of the industry on co-operative basis. A programme for this purpose has been indicated in the State Government’s Five Year Plan.
It is a matter of great pride that the sale of Khadi and Village Industry products has recorded a quantum jump in sales after the appeal of the Hon’ble Prime Minister in his Radio address to the nation ‘Mann Ki Baat’ on October 03, 2014 “to buy at least one ‘Khadi’ product for use in their day-to-day life.  If you buy Khadi, you light the lamp of prosperity in the house of a poor person”.  This has re-energized the Khadi sector which has resulted in increase of sales at Khadi Gramudyog Bhawan, New Delhi by 125% compared to previous year sales.  This was acknowledged by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on 02 November 2014 in the same programme.  The appeal by the Hon’ble Prime Minister has evoked emotional response amongst the people more so the youth of the country which has resulted in a new lease of life to Khadi sector.  Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has also risen to the occasion by renovating the Khadi Gramudyog Bhawan, New Delhi and ensuring that a wide variety of Khadi and Village Industry products are showcased to cover all age groups, all sections of textile market, such as Designer wear, home furnishing, upholstery, woolens including Pashmina, bridal wear, wide range of sarees from across the country, office wear, casual wear, children wear, ready to use and readymade dresses.  In addition a wide range of Village Industry products such as Handmade Paper & products, Honey, Natural soaps, Incense sticks, Herbal Beauty & Health care products, Jewellery and gift items and decorative, household artefacts, household grocery items which are ready to eat and organic farm products. In order to give a Youth Centric focus, KVIC has extended a special discount for students on the occasion of International Youth Day and Gandhi Jayanthi. KVIC is also taking Khadi to schools, colleges, universities, IITs, ITIs and other educational/ technical institutions by organizing college fest, fashion shows, awareness programmes and competitions to attract the youth. In addition, KVIC has been for a long time supplier of Khadi products for key sectors like Railways and Defence and with the opening of Defence sector for domestic manufacturers and suppliers, KVIC is in the process of gearing up to explore this sector aggressively. On September 20, 2015, saying that Khadi sales had doubled over one year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Ji again urged people to purchase Khadi products. He said that the income from handloom and Khadi sales go to the poor weavers or their widows. He also thanked people for having responded generously to a similar appeal he made last year. PM Modi also announced that over three million families had surrendered their cooking gas subsidy following his call. Over 30 lakh families have surrendered their LPG subsidy, and not just the rich. Most are from the lower middle and middle classes like retired teachers, pensioners. This is nothing but proof of that a silent revolution is on.
The Khadi and Village Industries Commission Chairman Sri Vinai Kumar Saxena presented his views on the new initiatives that are giving a fillip to the production and image of Khadi. He opined recently that Khadi Udyog has always been seen as an agency with desi, uncool stuff. But that’s changing now. It is stocking jeans in its showrooms; has roped in famous designer, Ms. Ritu Beri to design for it; and has orders worth crores for its products. He said that if one really wants to survive in the market, it has to be modern and competitive. Khadi has the right there with the others. Earlier, KVIC was banking on the Khadi name, but now things have changed. Besides, Khadi can be called our national fabric. Unfortunately, the plus points of Khadi have never been projected. For example, Khadi has zero carbon footprint, which is very relevant in today’s time. It is the most environment-friendly fabric. There’s no need for electricity or any machines or fuel to make Khadi. It is called an ‘air-conditioned’ material because in winters, it’s warm and in summers, it keeps you cool because it is porous, handspun and handwoven. These qualities were never projected.
Survey suggests that Khadi Sales will Cross Rs. 5,000 Crore In 2018
Riding high on the upsurge in demand for Khadi products, the Khadi and Village Industries Commission expects to surpass the sales target of Rs. 5,000 crore by the end of 2017-18. The sale of Khadi products has recorded a quantum jump. KVIC is getting good orders from the government. Sales of Khadi goods shot up by about 29 per cent to Rs. 1,510 crore in 2015-16. KVIC is also setting up export cells to promote overseas sales of the products. There is a good demand in the countries like the US and UK. Currently, KVIC is not doing direct exports but soon it will start. It will help in making Khadi an international brand. Further to improve the quality and sales of products, KVIC is regularly organizing training programmes for spinners and weavers in areas like designing and marketing. Overall sales of both Khadi and village industries have jumped over 14 per cent to Rs. 37,935 crore in 2015-16. The Khadi and village industries products are manufactured by about 7 lakh privately-owned household units. These units are funded through schemes such as Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme.
Ministry for Industries and Commerce Drive to Promoting Khadi and Providing Employment Opportunities to the People Especially of Rural Areas
On Dec 14, 2015, Minister for Industries and Commerce Shri Chander Prakash Ganga said that KVIC has approved Rs 2 crore for upgradation of Gandhi Sewa Sadan which would help in promoting Khadi and its products on large scale. He said that the KVIC has agreed for all necessary support in promoting Khadi and providing employment opportunities to the people especially of rural areas. This was stated by the Minister during his visit to Gandhi Sewa SadanJakh in Samba. He inspected the store of Gandhi Sewa Sadan and was informed about the various Khadi products being displayed for sale purpose. He also visited various production units including soap, shampoo, sewing, art & craft etc. and took stock of their functioning.
KVIC will intervene in more than 400 clusters all over the country and cover more than 40,000 artisans. ‘Revamped Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries’, or SFURTI has been formulated by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), Government of India. SFURTI is to be implemented by KVIC through a well-knit system of Nodal Agencies (NA), Implementing Agencies (IA), Technical Agencies (TA), Cluster Development Executives (CDE) and other resource providers. The scheme aims to organise traditional village industries and artisans into clusters to make them competitive, provide sustained employment for traditional industry artisans and rural micro-entrepreneurs, help enhance quality production and marketability of products of such clusters by supporting innovative products, design intervention, improved packaging and also improvement of sales and marketing infrastructure, among other objectives. KVIC is working for an effective implementation of the scheme with effect from March 1, 2016, for a period of two years, up to February 28, 2018, in two phases. The first phase comprises of four student-led competitions to be implemented by 31 May 2016. The second phase comprises of various steps designed to improve cluster governance systems, product quality and sustainable production of various quality goods and services for a period of two years up to February 28, 2018.
Noted fashion designers are also being involved for launching eco and user-friendly products.The new scheme of ‘zero defect, zero effect’, launched by the prime minister, will help increase the quality to match the global standards.KVIC is looking to promote Khadi as a fashionable fabric and to open premium lounges in major cities.There are more than 7,000 showrooms of the KVIC which can be used as selling points of Khadi products.The ministry is also looking to expand the Khadi stores network through more franchisees and tie-ups with partners for e-commerce sales.KVIC is also looking to digitize its systems to facilitate e-governance to reduce paperwork and save time.
Arun Khurana is Founder/Director, Social Responsibility Council.
Email : khurana@arunkhurana.com