MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday launched the sale of ‘Khadi Rumal’, made by militancy-affected families of Kashmir. Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena said that in 2016, the KVIC started a napkin stitching centre at Nagrota for the families of militancy-affected areas in the Valley.
The Commission engaged women of these families and began the production of Khadi napkins last month, Saxena said adding that the aim is to produce 5 crore napkins by the end of this fiscal. Gadkari said the KVIC’s initiative is a true reflection of “Bapu’s (Mahatma Gandhi) vision of empowering the weakest of the society…” and added that working on the same principle, the government is committed to uplifting socially and economically backward classes.
The minister said if people are provided job opportunities in their villages and home towns then there would not be any need for people to leave their homes. “Providing livelihood will also address challenges such as Naxalism, Maoism and terrorism,” he said. Sharing the details of the 5-crore napkin target, the KVIC Chairman further said the entire exercise will create 44 lakh man-days of livelihood yielding wages amounting to Rs 88 crore for artisans.
“The napkins will be stitched at centres in Jammu and Kashmir and sold on pan-India basis. In the exercise, 15 lakh kg cotton will be consumed, 25 lakh man days will be required in spinning, 12.5 lakh in weaving, 7.5 lakh in cutting, stitching and packing,” he said. At the event, an agreement was also signed between KVIC and digital payments firm Paytm to sell 2 crore Khadi napkins.
The first purchase was done by Gadkari who bought 50 pieces of napkins priced at Rs 50 each.
He also asked the chairman to increase the wages of the women stitching napkins by one rupee to Rs 3 a piece, to which Saxena agreed.