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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Khadi Board hopes to raise turnover to ₹150 crore- Mrit News

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The Khadi and Village Industries Board expects to raise its sales turnover to ₹150 crore during the current financial year through a slew of measures, including introduction of new designs and clothing materials. The board’s turnover had been less than ₹50 crore in the last financial year.

Board vice chairman P. Jayarajan said one of the factors that boosted the sale of Khadi products was the circular issued by the Industries department in January encouraging government employees to use Khadi products once in a week. Improving sales is part of efforts to give a new lease of life to the Khadi industry, which will also help Khadi product makers in units other than those run by the board.

Mr. Jayarajan claimed that a situation was being created in which there could be an “artificial scarcity” of cotton in the country, which could hit the Khadi industry hard. The import duty on cotton was lifted between April and September this year, and export too has been allowed. He said the government should procure cotton being produced in the country and supplied to the Khadi industry considering its importance in employment generation and the indigenous tradition that it upholds.

Mr. Jayarajan also said that the Centre’s policies had been harming the Khadi industry. The rebate offered for Khadi products has now been changed to 10% marketing development assistance. He feared that even that support might be lifted. The State government has been offering 20% rebate for Khadi products during the festival season to boost sales. The total rebate then adds up to 30%, including the assistance offered by the Centre.

One of the diversified products introduced by the board is material for trousers. Mr. Jayarajan said Khadi materials are fully handwoven and fetch a premium. However, there are spurious products too. At the same time, the Centre’s insistence on achieving competitiveness could affect the viability of Khadi units, as the products are completely handwoven and labour-intensive. 

The Kerala Khadi and Village Industries Board is a statutory body constituted in 1957 with the responsibility of organising and promoting Khadi and village industries. The board implements its programmes through co-operatives, registered institutions, individuals, and departmental units. It is estimated that there are around 6,000 Khadi weavers across the State and a total of 245 spinning and 177 weaving centres .

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