Reviving Khadi in India|Business Strategy|Case Study|Case Studies

Reviving Khadi in India

            
 
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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR055
Case Length : 9 Pages
Period : 1985 - 2003
Organization : Minister for Small Scale Industries
Pub Date : 2003
Teaching Note :Not Available
Countries : India
Industry : SSI

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.



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Background Note

Khadi has its roots in the freedom struggle of India. Khadi, the home spun cloth was central to Gandhi's vision of self- reliance and self- rule. Gandhi wanted Indians to spin their own cotton thread and to weave Khadi, thereby, providing employment to many Indians and contributing to the country's self-sufficiency. Post independence, Khadi fabrics were woven on handlooms from cotton, silk, and woollen yarn, which were hand-spun.

The production of Khadi is labour intensive as the weaving has to be done manually. The pure cotton collected from cotton farms is first ginned and bales are made. These bales are then converted into rowings and distributed to different spinning units. In the spinning units, the cotton fibre is manually converted into yarn using charkas.4 The yarn is then woven into fabric using handlooms. During the post-independence era, Indian industrialists set up capital intensive textile mills. Due to mass production, these mills could offer fine cloth at lower prices. Synthetic material like polyester was available at a very low price compared to Khadi. Thus despite all policy incentives to popularize Khadi, people bought machine made textiles.

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In order to popularize khadi among the masses, in 1957, the government set up the KVIC. It had the following broad objectives:
 
The social objective of providing employment
The economic objective of producing saleable articles, and
The wider objective of creating self-reliance amongst the poor and developing a strong rural community spirit.

Besides Khadi, KVIC also dealt with other products such as toilet soaps, detergents, honey, pickles, spices, incense sticks, handmade paper, leather, ceramics, and many other agro-based products (Refer Exhibit 1 for product range of KVIC). To keep the spirit of Khadi alive and promote it as a national fabric, KVIC has set up many outlets across India. As a result thousands of spinners, who wove the fabric could sell their output through the vast network of KVIC retail outlets. However, the situation did not improve much. The poor quality of garments sold through the KVIC outlets, resulted in customers' dissatisfaction. People even complained that the quality of Khadi had deteriorated and hence it faded easily...

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4] Charka is the Indian version of the spinning wheel.

 

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