In the national capital, Jai Singh Sharma, owner of Jai Padam Shree Tradex, which has been in the business of supplying national flags for over 30 years, is a busy man. Used to making only about 1,000 flags till last year, the New Delhi-based trader has got an order of 7 million flags this time with a deadline of August 8. “This year, business has been outstanding on account of the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign,” said Sharma, who has got orders from organisations like NTPC and Indian Railways, among others.
The campaign, to run from August 13-15, initiated by the government to mark 75 years of India’s independence, has left manufacturers and suppliers scrambling to meet demand for the Tricolour. Even on a conservative scale, there is a demand of over 250 million flags nationally, but traders have been able to produce and sell only 60 million so far, as per trade body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT).“The demand is so high that traders in Surat alone, the country’s largest textile market, have received orders for more than 50 million flags. Manufacturers are working round the clock to deliver on time. In all textile markets in Maharashtra, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Bihar, workers everywhere are only making flags, leaving all other work aside,” CAIT secretary-general Praveen Khandelwal said. Flags of sizes 9×6 inches, 18×12 inches, 16×24 inches, 20×30 inches and 53×35 inches are most in demand, he told FE.
The higher demand has also meant that more and more people are being roped in to make the flags. “We have employed over 500 women from nearby areas to stitch flags. On an average, one woman can stitch up to 20 flags depending on size, said Anil Roongta, director of Nipun Technoweaves, Surat, one of the biggest suppliers of national flags in India. “This time, the spirit is also very different because of the campaign,” he added. Retailers’ spirits are equally high. Mahendra Arora of Muskaan Enterprises, a shop located in the Sadar Bazar area of Delhi, says business has doubled this year. “We have been in this business for about 25 years, but this is the first time we have seen such demand,” Arora said.
After the Central government allowed firms to spend corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds on the campaign, several corporate houses have also come forward to order flags in bulk. Adani Enterprises, the flagship entity of Adani Group, is procuring one lakh flags, which are being prepared by a Godda-based (Jharkhand) women’s self-help group. Simultaneously, 10,000 cotton flags are being stitched by a women’s self-help group in Surguja in Chhattisgarh. Both these groups are supported by Adani Foundation.
Priti Adani, chairperson, Adani Foundation, told FE: “For me, this is the essence of independence in today’s times. It is the freedom to make our own choice and lead a life of self-reliance.”Bharat Electronics (BEL), a government-owned aerospace and defence electronics company, will be distributing around 20,000 national flags. Employees are also encouraged to participate in a ‘selfie with Tiranga’ initiative, BEL sources said. Other corporates like ITC will celebrate Independence day with multidimensional events, including hoisting of the Tricolour across locations, an company spokesperson said.
–With inputs from Tushar Goenka