Khadi activities got a major push during the last year – a year that largely remained affected due to the Covid-19 lockdown – thanks to a huge purchase order worth Rs 48.90 crore from the Indian Railway. While the railways purchased Khadi goods worth Rs 8.48 crore in December 2020 alone, it substantially created employment and income for Khadi artisans during the testing times of Covid-19.
The purchase orders from Indian Railways directly benefited artisans registered with 82 Khadi Institutions across the country that are engaged in production of material like sheeting cloth, towels, bed sheet, flag banner, sponge clothes, Dosuti Cotton Khadi, bunting clothes and others.
During the period from May 2020 to December 2020 (till December 21), Indian Railways procured Khadi material worth Rs 48.90 crore which kept Khadi activities going during the pandemic. Interestingly, Indian Railways purchased goods worth Rs 19.80 crore from Khadi in the months of May and June when the economy had taken a severe hit due to lockdown. Similarly, railways procured Khadi goods worth Rs 7.42 crore in July and August while it purchased Khadi products worth Rs 13.01 crore in the months of October and November.
KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena thanked Railway Minister Piyush Goyal for supporting Khadi artisans by placing large orders to KVIC. “During the pandemic, KVIC faced the biggest challenge of sustaining employment and livelihood of the artisans. While KVIC engaged its artisans in making Khadi masks during the pandemic; it simultaneously received bulk orders from the railways too that kept Khadi’s spinning wheel on the move. This meant additional employment and income for the artisans which helped them overcome the financial distress and support the country’s economy,” Saxena said.
Apart from supporting Khadi through direct purchases, Railways have also implemented policy decisions to strengthen Khadi artisans. In one such move, Railways have designated 400 railway stations where only earthenware is used for selling food and beverages to passengers and thus a major boost to the potters trained by KVIC under KumharSashaktikaranYojana. The Railway Ministry is in the process of notifying another 100 railway stations as “Plastic-free Stations”.