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khadi: industry

The pride of India goes awry


The withdrawal of 10 per cent rebate, which was given to the khadi industry around the year, and 20 per cent
that was given for 108 days a year to mark the Gandhi Jayanti, has left the local khadi industry in the lurch
with many units facing an immediate closure. by swati sharma

I
t was during the pre-Independence era year, and 20% that was given for 108 days construction work etc. Opposition lead-
that the movement of khadi manufac- a year to mark the Gandhi Jayanti, has left ers raised the issue in Parliament, saying
turing gained momentum under the the local khadi industry in the lurch with it is inappropriate and unfair on the part
guidance of the father of the nation Ma- many units facing an immediate closure. of the government to stop the rebate
hatma Gandhi. The movement of manu- The government has decided to put an abruptly as this was introduced to pro-
facturing and wearing khadi was aimed end to the rebate given to the khadi in- mote the khadi industry, which was en-
at dissuading Indians from wearing of dustry from April 1, 2010 onwards. The dorsed by Mahatma Gandhi himself.
foreign clothes. local industry, which was highly depend-
Gandhi once wrote: “Swaraj (self-rule) ent on the rebate, has been hit hard by the from bad to worse
without swadeshi (country made goods) hurried decision. The rebate was the sole purpose and life-
is a lifeless corpse and if swadeshi is the Experts say that khadi and village in- line for the industry as the clothes were
soul of swaraj, khadi is the essence of dustries in the country provide employ- being sold at 30% of cost, and undoubt-
swadeshi.” With these words of Gandhi, ment to a considerable number of arti- edly, this will further push the sector to-
during the national struggle for freedom sans. “The government’s move might wards extinction as this resource crisis
(Swadeshi and Non-Cooperation Move- render this workforce jobless in the near gets worse. Sector experts say its quite
ment), khadi became not only a symbol future,” an industry observer says. interesting that on one side, the govern-
of revolution and resistance but also a According to some Khadi and Village ment announced an allocation of `400
part of the Indian identity. Industries Commission (KVIC) mem- crore for the khadi industry in the Union
bers, a chain reaction has started in the Budget 2010, and at the same time, it took
no more rebate rural khadi units — no increment to the away the rebate quite willfully.
The withdrawal of 10% rebate, which was Sarvodaya Sangh workers, no daily wag- At present, the government owes over
given to the khadi industry around the es to poor weavers, weavers moving to `450 crore to Haryana state alone as re-

40 3 september-16 september 2010 business&economy


khadi

(L to R) 1. Mahatma Gandhi working on a


weaving machine in 1930. 2. A khadi store in
Bangalore. 3. A fashion show ‘Khadi-the spirit
of freedom’ inside the premises of central jail
in Bangalore

lay unnoticed for years at the Khadi


Gramodyog Bhavan in Connaugt Place
(the central business district of Delhi), the
somnolent air fills the place of its lost his-
tory and now even the purpose that it laid
for years together, today hang brood-
ingly while made-in-India flashes from
bate and that is just one state in a country Replying to a question in Rajya Sabha, one side.
of 29 states. Even bank loans, that were Minister of State for MSME, Dinsha Pa- Naresh Kadyan, secretary general of
given at 4%, are now being given at 12%, tel, said that the scheme of rebate on sales National Khadi & Village Industries
which makes it all together for the khadi caused delay in paying incentives to the Board’s Employees Federation, is running
units to survive. “We shall continue doing institutions so much so that they would an online petition (change.org) that tar-
the needful and live the Gandhian way in have to wait till sale and wait till next year gets government to oppose these rebate
spite of all opposition from the govern- to get the claims reimbursed. cuts that make a common man suffer. At
ment and will fight for our cause,” says a Under the MDA, incentive would be the time of filing the story, 132 people
store manager at Khadi Gramodyog in provided immediately after production had signed the petition. He says, “The
Delhi, on the condition of anonymity. of the items, and this is expected to ease withdrawal of rebate has hit the mission
Khadi institutions are the implement- out the working capital and due to lack of funds,
ing agencies forwarding rebate benefits situation of the institutions activities will face huge fi-
directly to the consumers and generate
employments. In order to promote mar-
by ensuring immediate li-
quidity, which would in
Government’s nancial crises. It would
definitely make things
ket for khadi products, the government turn, ensure timely pay- move might worse, proper funding,
had continued through the Khadi and
Village Industries Commission (KVIC),
ment to the artisans, ulti-
mately benefiting the arti-
render lakhs monitoring and honest im-
plementation is the need of
a policy of rebate on sale of khadi and sans. of people the hour.”
khadi products till 2009-10. According to
KVIC statistics, the khadi industry had a
According to the 2009-
2010 report of the MSME,
jobless in the losing spirit
production of `17338. 87 crore as of the value of khadi pro- near future Khadi was introduced in
2008-09, a sales of `22748.19 crore and duced in the country fell 1920 as a political weapon
employment of 103.91 lakh. from `585.25 crore in 2008 and as the best instrument
to `484.45 crore by December 2009; sales for giving concrete expression to the
new schemes dropped by Rs 40 crore. Over 80% of an- swadeshi spirit to boycott foreign goods.
The government is mulling to float a flex- nual sales of khadi products are restricted It is still being used as a political weapon
ible scheme—Market Development As- to the discount season, while less than but with a different approach. In those
sistance (MDA)—as a replacement of the 20% of sales are made during the remain- days, khadi rendered an opportunity to
rebates on sales, which will be imple- ing 8 months. The khadi commission every man, woman and child to cultivate
mented in the next financial year. The employs a million artisans out of which self-discipline and self-sacrifice as a part
scheme will privilege a financial assist- 80 per cent are women. In order to show of the non-cooperation movement. How-
ance at the rate of 20% of production their protest, the Khadi Stock Ashrams ever, all these spirits are dying with cul-
value on khadi and polyvastra, which will in Haridwar protested in front of the tivation of corruption and selfish motives
be shared among artisans, producing in- shop, weaving khadi on the charkha, of the new India. On repeated attempts
stitutions and selling institutions in the showing their resistance in Gandhian made by B&E to take official reaction on
ratio 25:30:50. It is also believed that the style. the issue, KVIC officials refused to com-
sales will be evenly spread throughout the ment. The khadi industry pleads for a
year and further the institutions will have forlorn hopes major transformation today. As most of
the flexibility to use the assistance in im- The grimmer portraits of Mahatma Gan- the politicians are shifting from khadi to
proving the outlets, products, giving in- dhi, grungy and faded colours of the na- linen clothes, there’s no one left to cut a
centives to customers. tional flags are ignored by passersby that figure in the society for khadi.

business&economy 3 september-16 september 2010 41