New Delhi, Dec 31 (PTI) The ‘Khadi mission’ in India touched new heights in 2018 with a slew of innovative measures like Sweet Kranti, Kumhaar Sashaktikaran Yojana, ‘charkha’ distribution, Khadi Korners and Khadi Mitra bringing the commoners close to the spirit of Khadi. Also Read - Gujarat: 5 Patients Dead as Fire Breaks Out in ICU of COVID Hospital in Rajkot; PM Modi Expresses Pain

The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) not just provided employment to the artisan families, but also gave them a platform to showcase their skills. Also Read - Congress Leader Ahmed Patel Laid to Rest in Gujarat’s Bharuch, Rahul Gandhi Attends Funeral

Speaking to PTI, KVIC chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena noted that Khadi India started a new programme named ‘Honey Mission’ under which nearly 55,000 bee boxes were distributed. Also Read - Ahmed Patel Passes Away: 'Lost an Irreplaceable Comrade,' Says Sonia Gandhi, Tributes Pour in From Political Circle

He said the step was in consonance with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push for a ‘Sweet Kranti’.

As part of the Honey Mission, Saxena said more than 7,000 persons were given employment besides generating around 6,000 additional man days through the fabrication of bee boxes and honey extractors.

To promote the dying red clay pottery (Terracotta) industry, the KVIC came up with a programme called ‘Kumhaar Sashaktikaran Yojana’ under which technology was provided to struggling potters.

A set of electric potter wheels, pug mill, blunger and gas-fired kiln each was given to group of 10 potters in many districts of Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar, Jharkhand and other states.

The KVIC chairman said the Commission also embarked upon distributing ‘charkhas’ to the poor. It provided more than 50,000 charkhas, 8,000 looms and 4,000 solar charkhas to the needy artisan families across the country.

Bringing together heritage and modernity, KVIC opened exclusive ‘Khadi Korners’ in major malls and supermarkets to achieve the three objectives of increase in sales, growth in employment generation and enhancement in wages of valuable artisans.

We had also introduced a new concept of ‘Khadi Mitra’, wherein housewives could sell Khadi with a nominal capital investment, Saxena said.

Indian postal service employees (74,000 postmen and 9,000 postwomen) are now being given two sets of Khadi uniforms designed by the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT).

Bollywood star Kangana Ranaut also doned Khadi in her upcoming biographical movie “Manikarnika”. The attire of the lead casts of the movie has been sponsored by KVIC.

Two historical Khadi institutions at Badanavalu in Karnataka and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh were also revived with the help of KVIC.

Saxena said in the Karnataka institution, KVIC redeveloped the worksheds in the campus that had been destroyed and facilitated installation of 100 charkhas and 20 looms.

The Varanasi institution, which was closed due to financial crunch and lack of proper management in 1990, was revived and given a special grant of Rs 20 lakh for renovation, he said.

He added that on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the KVIC had selected 150 highly-skilled potters from the remotest part of the country to make a 150 square metres-wall mural using ‘kulhad chai’ cups.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.