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Jharkhand Khadi becomes business success model
New Delhi, Feb 25 (IANS):
Published on 25 Feb. 2010 10:59 PM IST
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The Jharkhand State Khadi and Village Industries Board - the smallest of 33 such boards across the country - has become a business and social development model for all the other khadi boards in India. “The khadi board, which was formed in 2004 -- four years after Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar -- without capital, infrastructure and even a signage, today has an annual turnover of Rs.5 crore and a network of outlets across the state and the country. Business is growing by 20 percent annually over the last five years,” Jainandu (who uses only one name), the board chairman, told IANS in the capital. The board chairman has been invited by the prime minister and the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises to share its success story with a demonstration-cum-lecture at Vigyan Bhavan in the capital with other khadi board representatives. “Over the last five years, we have managed to employ 10,000 weavers and artisans in villages and have set up a dozen air-conditioned khadi outlets across the country. The Jharkhand khadi board is the only organisation which is in profit - and survives without government aid,” said the chairman, a former charkha-master at Mahatma Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram, Wardha Ashram and Jayaprakash Narayan’s Sekha Devra Ashram in Bihar. Jharkhand is known across the world for its tussar and kuchai silk. The cocoons are grown by the tribals in the Kolhan, Kharsawan and Seraikela regions of West Singhbhum. Before the formation of Jharkhand in 2000, bulk of the cocoons from the state were going out to the weaving centres in Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh because the ethnic communities who cultivated silk cocoons in Jharkhand did not know how to spin thread and weave silk. All the 20 khadi boards in the Jharkhand sector had shut shop when the state was part of Bihar, Jainandu said. “But we have provided the cocoon cultivators with spinning wheels and have trained them how to weave silk.” The kuchai silk produced around Kharsawan in Jharkhand was patented in 2008 to facilitate global promotion. “India produces nearly 60 percent of cocoons in the world of which Jharkhand contributes nearly 60 percent. The cocoons produced in the state are superior in quality to the kosa silk produced in Chhattisgarh,” the chairman said. Jainandu, who has devoted his life to the development of khadi as a contemporary fabric, ascribes the turnaround of the Jharkhand khadi board to an “intensive promotion campaign with annual khadi and handicrafts festivals in the state since 2004, social security net for every khadi artisan with a life insurance scheme of Rs.100,000, motivation and awareness campaigns in villages and business agreements with 3,000 Indian post offices, NABARD and the song and drama division of the government of India to spread the message of khadi”. Since 2006, the state has been hosting an annual Khadi and Handicrafts Mahotsav, with corporate sponsorship, where khadi was being promoted as a fashion fabric with ramp shows. “Khadi is the only way villages can become self-sustainable in India,” Jainandu said.

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