Mission khadi for 70th Independence Day celebrations

NEW DELHI, AMITA SHAH: If states agree to the Centre’s suggestion, government employees across the country could be wearing khadi once a week, though “voluntarily”.

The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), which falls under the ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, has written to all state governments and Union ministries to consider issuing an appeal to all government employees to voluntarily wear khadi for one day in a week, which could be Friday.

“Government can request. It should not be a compulsion. We want people to get a feel of the national fabric,”said KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena told dna.

According to KVIC sources, most state governments have responded positively to the proposal, which was sent to them around three months ago. Saxena said Maharashtra was among the states which have agreed to the KVIC request. Besides, some ministries including power and petroleum, have already taken steps to encourage their employees to wear khadi, in response to the letters.

This is part of an exercise to popularise use of khadi, a fabric symbolic of India’s freedom struggle and which provides employment opportunities to lakhs of artisans in the country. The MSME ministry has now got instructions from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to celebrate the 70th Independence Day.

KVIC is busy preparing for August 15, when it launches a week-long 70 per cent discount week. Besides all of khadi’s 7,060 outlets across the country would be decorated in tricolour lights. “We are launching a tricolour series of soaps, agarbatti and jackets with three buttons in tricolour,” Saxena said. In the Capital, LED screens will be put up to show a short film on khadi.

Listing out the benefits of khadi, Saxena said it was a natural zero-carbon fabric. “One metre of khadi fabric requires one litre of water as against 36 litres needed for the same length of a textile mill fabric,” he said.

The letters to states said the spirit of the mission got its inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi’s appeal to the nation during the freedom struggle to wear khadi and the aim was to create a national awakening. “KVIC has brought in design development in khadi through NIFT, NID and by engaging professional designers of repute. On our request, khadi has been patronised by various government departments like postal department, Delhi Police, Indian Railways, BSF, Air India including a private sector organisation JK Cement,” the letters said.

In his letters to chief ministers, Saxena has said that wearing khadi would be support to symbol of India’s self-reliance. He also recalled Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message through his “Mann ki Baat”to buy at least one khadi product.