To promote Khadi and support entrepreneurs and artisans associated with the indigenous fabric, the Yogi Adityanath government has introduced Khadi uniforms in primary schools in Uttar Pradesh.
The proposal has been initiated as a pilot project in government schools across 4 districts viz. Lucknow, Sitapur, Bahraich and Mirzapur. Depending upon success, it would be implemented in other districts.
According to UP Khadi principal secretary Navneet Sehgal, Khadi production units have been directed to ensure adequate supply of uniforms in these districts. “This initiative will not only boost Khadi production, but create a large number of employment opportunities as well.”
To popularise Khadi, the state is giving greater importance to contemporary designs and packaging, while arrangement are being made to train Khadi artisans and designers to create contemporary and innovative apparels. The state has also engaged National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Rae Bareli for the training of artisans and dress designers.
Besides, the government has undertaken to set up modern Khadi retail outlets in UP under the public private partnership (PPP) model.
In February 2018, the state government had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ecommerce giant Amazon to promote ‘UP Khadi’ over its online marketplace. Amazon was also expected to educate and train entrepreneurs to directly sell their products to online customers.
Now, the government is looking to firm up an alliance with Flipkart for a similar marketing and vending arrangement.
Meanwhile, the state has proposed to set up Khadi Parks with the first such infrastructure proposed at Kanpur district’s Bilhaur town, which is situated 100 km from the state capital of Lucknow.
Last year, then UP khadi minister Satyadev Pachauri had asked officials to prepare a detailed project report in this regard after studying the Jharkhand model. Pachauri has now been elected to Lok Sabha after winning the 2019 general elections from Kanpur constituency.
Jharkhand’s maiden Khadi Park was launched in January 2018 at Amda village in Seraikela-Kharsawan district near Jamshedpur. Spread over an area of about 2 acres, the facility comprised about 200 solar powered spinning wheels. The Park was aimed at training the youth for self employment and stem their migration in search of jobs.
The UP Khadi department is also looking to revive defunct handmade paper unit at Kalpi, Jalaun under PPP apart from setting up a skill training centre in Bundelkhand.
The state has been meticulously trying to market ‘UP Khadi’ as an exclusive and up-market brand to gain traction among youth and the fashion conscious.
At the UP Investors Summit 2018, the government had signed MoUs to the tune of Rs 30,000 crore with Indian and foreign companies across the entire Khadi value chain starting from manufacturing to retailing. The sector is being promoted under the flagship One District One Product (ODOP) scheme.