Mumbai: In a major initiative, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has directed the Director Generals (DGs) of all paramilitary forces to switch over to khadi fabrics and use village industries products in their staff canteens, a top official said here on Saturday.
The move came after several meetings between the Khadi Village Industries Commission (KVIC) and representatives of various paramilitary forces in the country, said KVIC Chairman VK Saxena.
The meetings, conducted in the past couple of weeks, have practically reached the finalisation stage and KVIC has handed over khadi samples for cotton and woollen uniforms, blankets, camouflage gear and canteen stocks to the para-militaries for their approval.
Besides khadi uniforms, KVIC plans to offer a range of its famed village products like pickles, papads, honey, soaps and detergents, shampoos, cleaners, tea, mustard oil, etc. for the canteens.
"The sample we developed for the camouflage fabric was not only liked by at least one of the paramilitary forces, but it was found considerably superior to the existing ones they use," Saxena said proudly.
He expects that Shah's initiative will help double the KVIC's annual turnover - currently standing at around Rs 75,000 crore - and also create millions of additional man-hours employment for the artisans to weave millions of metres of khadi fabrics for the different paramilitary forces.
The Union Home Minister's directions to the paramilitary forces to stock village industries' products in their staff canteens will build faith and confidence among the artisans as their niche products would be showcased before the real guardians of the country, Saxena added.
In order to augment revenues, the KVIC has taken to aggressive sales and marketing, opening new retail outlets, tying up with e-commerce portals, promotions at public places like railway stations, branding HS Code for 11 of its products, and waging a war on fake khadi producers.
Saxena termed Shah's directives as a reflection of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government's "vision and commitment for the make-over of this signature Fabric of the Nation" and launch a revolution in the rural areas by way of jobs and livelihood.