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Khadi masks all set to go global from local

Khadi masks all set to go global from local

Time has taught us that we must make ‘local’ the mantra of our lives, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an address to the nation last week.

"Global brands that are there today were once local too. But when people there started supporting them, they became global. That is why from today, every Indian must become vocal for our local," he said.

Within days of this ‘go vocal for local’ call by the PM, the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), after having satiated the internal demand, is now seriously exploring the possibility of exporting khadi cotton and silk face masks to foreign countries.

The KVIC, boosted by the Ministry of Commerce and Industries’ decision to lift the ban on export of non-medical/non-surgical masks of all types, has comprehensively planned to export khadi face masks to the United States, Dubai, Europe, Mauritius and several other countries in the Gulf where Khadi’s popularity has significantly grown over the last few years.

The plan is simple — to route the supplies through the Indian embassies in these countries.

Local isn't going global for the first time.

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"I am proud to recollect that I had asked citizens to buy khadi and to support handloom workers. In a short time, demand and sales touched record levels. Khadi became a big brand because of you and we got good and effective results," Modi had said during his speech.

The motive is to help the “friends on the streets” and to buy and endorse local products under the <em>Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan</em>.

The KVIC is already getting bulk orders from within the country for its double and triple-layered cotton and silk facemasks.

During the lockdown, the commission received orders to supply eight lakh masks to the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Prime Minister’s Office, Central Government ministries, Jammu &amp; Kashmir, and also to the general public.

Beside these orders, the KVIC also distributed through its khadi institutions over 7.5 lakh masks for free to various district authorities all across the country.

“The export of khadi masks is an appropriate example of ‘local to global’ mantra. The popularity of khadi products has grown significantly across the globe in recent years after the appeal by the Prime Minister. The export of khadi masks will lead to a spike in the production and ultimately create large scale employment opportunity for artisans in India,” said KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena.

“Facemasks are the most critical tool to fight the corona pandemic. These masks prepared from double-twisted khadi fabric not only meet the quality and scale of demand but are also cost effective, breathable, washable, reusable and bio-degradable,” he added.

The double-twisted khadi fabric used for manufacturing these masks helps in retaining moisture content inside while providing an easy passage for the air to pass through.

Moreover, the hand-spun and hand-woven cotton and silk fabrics make these masks much more special as cotton acts as a mechanical and silk as an electrostatic barrier.

The latest move from the KVIC will further boost khadi exports.

In November 2019, the government had also allocated separate HS (Harmonized System) code for this signature fabric of India.

Earlier, all the data regarding export of khadi used to come as a normal fabric under the textile head.

With the impact of Covid-19 pandemic having far-reaching consequences and set to transform the world like never before, the day isn’t far when you’ll see many in the US, Europe and other countries of the world sporting a khadi mask..