Mann Ki Baat: The Voice of India’s Traditional Handlooms
The pride of the Indian National movement before independence is ‘Khadi’. After independence, the pride of Swadeshi is ‘Khadi’. Presently the identity of ‘self-reliant India’ is ‘Khadi’.
The mantra of ‘Vocal for Local’ by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has made Khadi ‘Local to Global’. Now Khadi is not just a symbol of fashion but has become the most powerful medium of change in the lives of the poor. Before independence, revered Bapu made India’s national heritage ‘Khadi’ the most powerful medium of non-violent movement; The same Khadi was made the most powerful pillar of the foundation of ‘Self-reliant India’ by Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the craftsman of New India.
The Prime Minister’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ program has made the most significant contribution in making Khadi self-reliant, as a result of which the total business of Khadi and village industry products has crossed Rs 1.15 lakh crore in 2021-2022, which is a history in itself.
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had said in ‘Mann Ki Baat’ that when we buy any Khadi product, we light up the lives of lakhs of weavers who toil day and night. This shows the commitment of the present government towards rural India, under the leadership of the Prime Minister. It is the outcome of the same that the acceptance of Khadi products at the national and international levels has increased in recent years and its benefits have gone to the Khadi workers working at the grassroots level. The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), has boosted the remuneration of Khadi artisans by over 33 per cent with effect from April 1, 2023. Since 2014, there has been an increase of more than 150 per cent in remuneration.
After independence, the Khadi and Village Industries Commission was established in the year 1956 to promote Khadi and Village Industries activities. The Commission is implementing flagship employment-oriented programs of the Government of India under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME). On 3 October 2014, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modithrough his radio broadcast program ‘Mann Ki Baat’ appealed to the citizens of the country to buy Khadi, which revived the Khadi sector. Prime Minister had said that “If you buy any Khadi product, you light a lamp of prosperity in a poor person’s home”. As a result, “a 125% increase in the sale of Khadi was registered within a week”.
Khadi and Village Industries Commission has made Khadi a fashion choice not only in India but internationally by bringing innovation in Khadi fabrics. The mantra of ‘Khadi for Nation, Khadi for Fashion and Khadi for Transformation’ by the Prime Minister has become a major medium of change. Similarly, for the promotion of village industry products, under the “Honey Mission” program from 2017-18 till now, 1.80 lakh bee-boxes and Bee Colony have been given to more than 18 thousand beneficiaries and more than 25 thousand electricity kits to potters under the Potter Empowerment Program,under the Leather Industry around 3,100 artisans were provided training in skill development and more than 1600 were provided with advanced tools kits for footwear manufacturing. Similarly, 1080 pedal-operated machines were also distributed to the agarbatti artisans after training. Along with this, agro-based and food processing industries, Turnwood Craft, Khadi Natural Paint, Project RE-HAB, Khadi Fabric Footwear and Handmade Paper Manufacturing Scheme gave a new identity to rural industries.
The Khadi and Village Industries Commission had built a record of employing new startups through the Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Program (PMEGP) during the period of Corona epidemic when there was a record decline in industries around the world and a huge increase in unemployment. Taking the crisis as an opportunity, during the financial year ending March 31, 2021, which was largely affected by the nationwide lockdown, the Commission has created 5,95,320 jobs by disbursing Rs.2188.78 crores. This was the highest level ever since its launch in 2008. Taking a giant leap in the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ campaign, KVIC has employed 64,30,618 people since 2008, in the last financial year 2021-22, by disbursing margin money of Rs.19148.01 crores.
The promotion of Khadi in the ‘Mann Ki Baat’ program by the Prime Minister has increased the sale of Khadi on normal days. In the last financial year, on October 2, 2022, the ‘Khadi India’ showroom located at Connaught Place, New Delhi, sold nearly 1 Khadi-Village Industries product worth Rs 34 crore, which is the biggest sale ever in a single day. During the Har Ghar Tiranga program of the Government of India in the 75th year of independence, there has been an increase of 75 per cent in demand for the National Flag made of Khadi.
With the efforts of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Khadi has become a popular brand, especially among the youth. It is the prime choice of top fashion designers in the country. In the financial year 2014-15 to 2021-22, when the production of Khadi increased by 191 per cent, there was a jump of 332 per cent in sales. While the production of the village industry sector increased by 206 per cent during the same period, while sales increased by 245 per cent, a government procurement order of Rs 45 crore to KVIC during the second lockdown of the Covid pandemic has been a big boost for Khadi artisans.
Be it Khadi clothes, handicraft products or food made in village industries, these items have given India international recognition as a nation as well as made it self-sufficient. These products are not only world-class but also close to nature. For the present world grappling with climate change, these products coming from our villages can prove to be ideal, which is the identity of a self-reliant India.
Prime Minister’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ radio program is going to complete its hundred episodes on April 30, 2023. I hope that the way we have adopted Khadi, we will take a pledge to be more ‘Vocal for Local’ than before and make India self-reliant in every sense.
The Author is Chairman, Khadi and Village Industries Commission, Government of India.
Author: Manoj Kumar
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