Khadi and Atma Nirbhar Bharat : Daily Current Affairs

GS 1 - Primary, Secondary and Tertiary sector industries

GS 2- Government Policies and Interventions for development in various sectors

Keywords - Khadi, KVIC, Rural economy, Textile, Hand spun, monopoly, Restrictive Practices

Why in News?

Recently, a group of textile experts raised the questions on restrictive polices of KVIC in controlling the Khadi supply chain management. And, asserted that such polices are against the principles of Atma Nirbhar Bharat.

What is Khadi?

Khadi fabric, also known as khaddar, is a hand spun and hand woven fabric made with cotton fibres. The Khadi term coined in 1918 by Mahatma Gandhi when he led the Swadeshi Movement. Thus, as a fabric, khadi is unique due to the spinning process which is done by hand.

When the spinning process is mechanised, we get power loom or mill-made fabric. Due to this distinction, khadi production is governed by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) under the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) whereas handloom and mill-made fabric production is governed under the Ministry of Textiles.

Khadi during Freedom struggle

  1. A 'symbol' of self reliance.

  2. A 'icon' for Rural upliftment.
  3. A 'logo' for Indian Swaraj.

Khadi in contemporary India

  1. Failed to gain its potential.
  2. Still in take off stage to grow.
  3. Suffering policy uncertainty and restrictive trade practices.

Underlying challenges in Khadi Development

  1. Machine made cloths are cheaper and very affordable.

  2. Mass production is easy with Machine based Power loom and since Khadi is Labour intensive, massive production is difficult.
  3. Poor R&D and Diversification in Khadi products according to modern demand.
  4. Issues in certification , labelling and standardisation of khadi products.
  5. Restrictive and Monopolistic policies of KVIC.

KVIC and Khadi

  1. khadi cannot be sold in the country without attaching the khadi mark tag/label as prescribed by the Khadi Mark Regulations, 2013. This trademark “khadi” has given KVIC a disproportionate powerful position. Eg. KVIC has served legal notices to more than 1,000 firms alleging using word “khadi” to their fabric.

  2. KVIC has influenced the Indians to buy only genuine Khadi products from KVIC approved entities only.
  3. KVIC has also discouraged business entities from using terms such as “handwoven” and “handspun” for their fabric. So autonomous artisans not possessing a khadi mark certificate are particularly very vulnerable.
  4. One of the functions of KVIC, is to build up reserves of raw materials and supply them. This function has been interpreted in a rigid manner as restrictions have been imposed on Central Sliver plants (CSPs) and Khadi Institutions (KIs) regarding the procurement of raw materials — cotton, wool and silk from KVIC reserves only.

Potential of khadi in Atma Nirbhar Bharat

  1. Khadi due to its ZERO carbon footprint can be flag bearer of sustainable textile clothing in era of climate change.
  2. khadi due to its non-uniformity and hidden human errors , are appreciated world wide as blessings in disguise- ' Every fabric is unique, Every fabric is beautiful'
  3. India with 95% share in global handwoven products , khadi can be a new strategic sector for self-reliant India.
  4. Khadi can exploit the hidden potential of rural India, and can become the symbol of Women Empowerment.
  5. Khadi is labour intensive can solve the issue of disguised employment in agriculture based rural economy.

Way forward

  1. Review of existing regulatory policies and undo the bureaucratic procedures is necessary to restore the khadi fabric’s lost glory.
  2. It is also crucial to distinguish between the various kinds of khadi available in the market- cotton based, wool based, silk based.
  3. KVIC restrictions and compliances are outdated and seriously harm the ease of doing business in the Khadi sector. Liberalising the khadi supply chain management is the need of hour in the era of Atma Nirbhar Bharat.

Prelims question:

Q. Consider the following statements

a.) Khadi is a cotton based fabric manufactured in various handloom in India.

b.) Khadi in India regulated by Ministry of Textiles.

Choose the correct option:

A. 1 only

B. 2 only

C. 1 and 2

D. None

ANSWER: D option Khadi is a hand spun & hand woven fabric, and not handloom based. Khadi development regulated by KVIC under MSME.

Mains question

Q. In the recently held khadi conclave, the slogan for khadi development was -" Khadi for nation to khadi for fashion ". In the light of this slogan, kindly access the potential of khadi as a steering wheel for Atma Nirbhar Bharat, specially in textile sector. (15 marks)

1. The Hindu Newspaper
2. KVIC official site