Ample employment opportunities for Khadi artisans have helped them fight the financial distress once again, as most parts of the country remain under lockdown during the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic. Despite a severe jolt to the manufacturing and service sectors between March and May this year, Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has bagged purchase orders worth over Rs. 45 crore that would support the livelihood of lakhs of Khadi artisans. The purchase orders have come from the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Indian Railways and Air India.
The MoU between KVIC and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs for purchase of 6.38 lakh meter of poly Khadi fabric for Tribal students has been extended to 8.46 lakh meter fabric worth Rs.20.60 crore in April 2021. The order has been distributed amongst several Khadi Institutions in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana. The material will be supplied by June this year.
Similarly, the Ministry of Railway, between April and May, has placed purchase orders worth Rs.19.50 crore to KVIC. This will directly benefit artisans registered with over 100 Khadi Institutions across the country that are engaged in production of specialized material like sheeting cloth, towels, bed sheets, flag banner, sponge clothes, Dosuti Cotton Khadi, bunting clothes etc. Material will be supplied during June and July 2021. India’s national air carrier Air India, too, will purchase 1.10 lakh amenity kits worth Rs.4.19 crore for its executive and business class international passengers.
The fresh supply order issued in the month of April comes despite the aviation sector, particularly the international operations, taking a major hit in the Covid-19 era. The Khadi amenity kit includes premium herbal cosmetic products like Khadi hand sanitizer, Khadi moisturizer lotion, Khadi lemongrass oil, Khadi handmade soap, khadi lip balm, Khadi rose face wash, essential oils, etc. that are manufactured by small village industry units.
KVIC Chairman Shri Vinai Kumar Saxena said such large orders in these testing times of Covid-19 pandemic will bolster KVIC’s efforts of creating maximum employment for artisans and fulfill the dream of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’. He said that during the lockdown, KVIC faces the biggest challenge of sustaining employment and livelihood of the artisans. The bulk orders from the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Indian Railways and Air India have kept Khadi’s Charkha spinning which means employment and income for the spinners, weavers, allied workers and a huge workforce engaged in the village industries.