Khadi body taps into private sector to boost sales

After getting public sector undertakings (PSUs) like ONGC, NTPC, Air India and Indian Railways on board, the Khadi Village Industries Commission (KVIC) is now tapping the private sector for khadi sales. With a push from PM Narendra Modi, KVIC has been able to bag orders JK White Cement, while it is in talks with The Indian Hotels Company Limited of the Tata Group and GMR Group.

So far, seven PSUs have given orders of over Rs 266 crore to khadi institutions across India through KVIC. ONGC has given order of Rs 52 crore to the khadi institutions while Indian Railways has planned to buy khadi of Rs 150 crore. KVIC is aiming khadi sales of Rs 2,000 crore in the current financial year and Rs 5,000 crore by the end of FY2018-19.

“We have received good responses from the government’s own companies and now we are looking to tap private sector companies to increase khadi and village industries products across India. Corporate support will help us to achieve our target of Rs 5,000 crore by the end of FY 2018-19,” V K Saxena, chairman of KVIC, told Business Standard.

The commission is meeting and talking with private players like GMR Group, Taj Hotels and J K White Cement and so far KVIC has claimed that responses are positive. ONGC usually distributes bonuses and gifts to its employees in the form of cash, recognising their services to the nation and rewarding their hard work. This year, an agreement had been reached with the KVIC and ONGC in the month of January, under which while the staff bonus gains an additional value, the mechanism itself contributes to a wider public good. The company has 34,236 regular employees and 1,063 non-regular employees to total 35,299 across India.

Saxena said, “J K White Cement has already started procurement of khadi for their workers’ dress and we are hopeful of others. Adoption of khadi by private companies and PSUs will help artisans and our aim behind it is to increase the income of khadi artisans. PSU orders are very encouraging for us and we are looking to continue working with them.”

KVIC has also given a free hand to the khadi institutions to directly talk to private or government organisations for orders. Some institutions have started doing this and have received good responses. Gondal-based Udyog Bharti, a six decade-old khadi institution, is supplying school dress to Shishuvan School in Mumbai. The institution is in talks with the government and private schools in Gujarat to supply khadi.

Chandrakant Patel, secretary of Udyog Bharti, said, “More orders will increase the sales of khadi and this will improve artisans’ earning. The initiative taken by KVIC will help this. We are also trying to tap government and non-governmental orders.”

The commission had set about Rs 1,900-2,000 crore sales target of khadi and village industries’ products in 2016-17, with the KVIC chairman claiming 80 per cent of the target has been reached so far. Last year its sales stood at Rs 1,510 crore. KVIC is aiming at sales to the tune of Rs 5,000 crore in the next two years.

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