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Employment in Khadi sector on the decline

Mar '07
Number of people employed in khadi industry is declining every year with workforce falling drastically from 13.16 lakh in 1994-95 to 8.70 lakh in 2005-06.

Decreasing demand for fabric and exploitative middlemen has made the weavers to move out due to poor remuneration, according to sources in the Ministry of Small Scale Industries.

Data complied by Ministry shows that for khadi worth Rs100, only Rs38.75 goes to weavers who are mostly rural women, living below poverty line.

According to sources, middlemen exploit weavers by pocketing profits earned on sale of khadi cloth to Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC).

“Moreover, the middlemen quote a much higher price for various inputs than their actual cost. Despite this, they pay peanuts to the weavers,” said the source.

The high cost of production quoted by the middlemen also renders subsidies provided to the sector ineffective. In 2005-06, Rs 475.95 crore worth of budgetary support was provided to the sector for planned activities and an additional Rs68.93 crore was granted for non-planned activities.

During 2005-06, khadi worth Rs471 crore was produced. This was not much higher than the Rs443.07 crore worth of production in 2002-03.

Declining workman strength of khadi sector shows that Gramodyog Rozgar Yojana, for providing avenues of employment for rural unemployed, is not bringing in the desired result.

KVIC too is not able to achieve much which is a statutory organisation established primarily to provide employment opportunities in rural areas.

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