Textile Sector – Cotton, Jute, Wool, Silk, Handloom, etc.

Khadi industry in India

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Khadi Mark Regulation

Mains level : Paper 3- Issues facing khadi promotion in India

Context

The Prime Minister has repeatedly stressed his support for khadi, cottage industries, crafts and handlooms.

About Khadi

  • Genuine khadi or khaddar is woven from short-stapled organically grown cotton.
  • The beauty is in its uneven texture and colours, as cotton bolls are not all pure white in every region.
  • Fabrics being made today in the name of khadi are modified spin-offs that look more like handloom fabric, with mill-produced yarn, screen printed and often mixed with mill-made polyester.

Issues

  • Restriction of scope: According to the Khadi Mark Regulations (KMR) of 2013, no textile can be sold or otherwise traded by any person or institution as khadi or a khadi product in any form if the khadi mark tag issued by KVIC is missing.
  • This restricts the scope of trade to a few approved entities, thereby creating recognisable barriers to enter the market for khadi.
  • Restrictive certification process: The certification process described in Chapter V (Clause 20 (a)) of the KMR requires accredited agencies to perform an on-site verification of hand-spinning and hand-weaving processes.”
  • Yarn must be procured only from KVIC depots or the Cotton Corporation of India, descriptions of mechanisation and electrification are ambiguous.
  • There are so many restrictions that most producers have no incentive and many small bodies are unable to pay Rs 50,000 for certification.
  • Multiple authorities: Hand-spinning and weaving are also part of craft skills. Only the hand-spun part is additional in khadi.
  • But today KVIC, on its website and in its catalogue, has visibly non-hand-spun silk-printed saris, polyester fabrics and others that seem clearly machine-printed.
  • The KVIC online catalogue has products like industrially-made suitcases, bags and wallets which are under MSME, but with a “khadi” label.
  • This points to the need for bringing khadi and all handicrafts together in one ministry.

Conclusion

Gandhi did not intend to create a police state for the khadi sector, full of acts and rules that put production in a straitjacket. Perhaps, some courageous producers can try circumventing all this by using the word “khaddar” on their labels instead.

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