Union minister Nitin Gadkari has set a target for the khadi and village industries sector to reach a turnover of Rs 5 lakh crore in the next five yeas from the current level of Rs75,000 crore. This sector can create five crore new jobs in the next five years, the minister for road transport & highways said. Marketing was a big problem for this sector so an Alibaba-inspired marketing portal for selling their products is on the anvil, Gadkari said. He said that post offices will be used to deliver khadi products.
The growth in the turnover in this sector will come from new focus areas such as honey, fisheries, biofuels, bamboo and agro and forest products. Gadkari said they will soon launch honey mission and create honey clusters. The ideas was to increase honey production and provide funding for creating new honey-based products. Honey entrepreneurs could come together and work in clusters, he suggested.
Gadkari visited the Central Bee Research and Training Institute in Pune and met entrepreneurs working in this sector. He wanted the research institute to facilitate tech and knowhow transfer. A bank of ideas and innovations as well as research may be created sector wise and these technologies transferred or license given for commercialising them.
Gadkari said the government tried out this through KVIC in Haryana and the honey collection activity had increased farmer’s income by 20%. There is a lot of research in processing and packaging honey going on and this needs to reach to the farms. Just like poultry and dairy, honey can become a source of alternative income for farmers, he said. This was one of the way to deal with growing farmers’ income and deal with farmers suicides.
Ayurvedic products was another area where growth prospects could be increased from Rs 20,000 crore to Rs 1,00,000 crore. Similarly Khadi Denim was being made in 13 clusters and hand-made handkerchiefs made by women in Kashmir and improved their earnings, the minister said.