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Playing a Commendable Role at the Grass Root Level
Interview with J. S. Mishra, CEO, Khadi and Village Industries Commission

With what objective was KVIC set up?
The saga of Khadi was started by Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi to rejuvenate the rural economy as part of the freedom struggle. The All India Khadi and Village Industries Board was set up in 1953. Subsequently, the Khadi and Village Industries Act was passed in Parliament in 1956. The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) was established in 1957 with it’s headquarter at Mumbai. KVIC functions under the administrative control of the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Govt. of India. The board objectives of KVIC are providing employment opportunities in rural areas, producing saleable articles and creating self-reliance amongst the people and build up a strong rural community spirit.

What is the exact role of KVIC in the rural employment?
During the last five decades KVIC has been playing a commendable role at the grass root level by providing employment opportunities with low per capita investment to the poorest of the poor in remote rural areas of the Country. Employment generation in rural India is a gigantic problem before the Country. KVI Sector has provided employment to about 90.00 lakh persons, which is a remarkable contribution.
IC has been providing employment opportunities for spinners, weavers and other allied artisans. KVIC’s flagship programme Rural Employment Generation Programme (REGP) is being implemented with the aim of rural industrialisation. This is a credit linked scheme with margin money grant from KVIC which envisages development of rural entrepreneurship i.e. it not only generates employment opportunities but also promotes the entrepreneurial spirit. Under the REGP, around 2.76 lakh units have been set up by providing employment of 43 lakh persons in rural areas.

KVIC is providing employment in rural areas through its different khadi and village industries programmes and schemes being implemented by its 6 Zonal offices 36 filed office and 38 training centres spread through out the Country.

What is the potential of Khadi and Village Industries in India?
Rural population in India as per the 2001 census was around 74.25 crores, out of which around 23% are unemployed. This apart, roughly 50% of the population is not able in a position to earn sufficient wages for their livelihood. In other wards, they are under-employed. Therefore, the need of the hours is not only to provide employment but sustainable employment. KVI sector has vast potential in generating employment opportunities for the unemployed rural youth through its vast network. With the focus of creating employment in the rural areas, KVIC has been playing a vital role in rural industrialisation with low per capita investment in the rural areas, since last 50 years. Full time and sustainable employment is the development policy.

So far, KVIC has provided employment to 8.84 lakh person under Khadi and 80.08 lakh persons under Village Industries up to the terminal year of Xth Five Year Plan in 2006-07. It has been prepared to create employment opportunities to 144.61-lakh person under Khadi & Village Industries by the end of XIth Five Year Plan with a growth rate of 12%.

To role of KVI sector has been very important in the rural economy and it continues to play major role even today. Various programmes started as voluntary efforts under the inspired guidance of Gandhiji have now emerged as major plank of national planning by the Government of India for reinvigorating rural economy. Following the foot steps of Gandhiji who had said “The work among the poor will be profitless and devoid of religion without the spinning wheel. We must help the poor to feed and cloth themselves. No other industry can solve the problem of mass poverty in India”.

Marketing is a professional set up; do you think governmental system suits this kind of activities? Or a new system should be adopted?
Successful marketing has to be professional set up. I do not see any problem in the government system, especially as we see many of the PSU’s have exhibited brilliant performance. However, the overall environment in KVIC presently needs drastic changes as there needs to be lot more receptivity and adaptability to be recognised and inculcated. Sufficient freedom must be given to the leaders capable of giving the organisation a new dimension and direction for growth, as in any good professional organisation.

Are there any exports of Khadi & Village Industries products and where do you see KVIC in the highly competitive and demanding export market ?
Yes. As per the information available, exports of around Rs.50 crores a year is registered under KVI sector. These figures related to the reports received from the producing institutions. However, there is a greater share of undeclared exports through third party (merchant) exporter. Most of the KVI institutions being too small to undertake export on their own, their products are sourced by third party (merchant exporters) and exported for which the data is not readily available. On a rough estimate, it is expected that around Rs.100 crores worth of KVI products are exported through third party, which do not figure in KVIC’s export figures.

With a view to bring all the exports of KVI sector under the fold of KVIC, the Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India has recently bestowed KVIC with the status of deemed (EPC). This effort is expected not only to crystalise the information about exports actually happening but also give a further boost to the sector. I envisage an export of around Rs.1000 in the next 4 years.

In spite of stiff competition in the international market, there is a growing demand for natural, hand made, and eco-friendly products, which is advantage for KVIC since most of the KVI products fall under this category.

What are the challenges KVIC is facing today?
Liberalisation, privatisation, globalisation and IT are the major challenges in the economic system. KVIC is also not an exception in present era scenario. But, at the same time world has shrunk and rethinking has started in the KVI sector also. The open and healthy competition is always helpful. For overall development.
The greatest challenge before KVIC today is not only to continue to nurture and foster small, decentralised units of production in rural India, but also to make available to them, the benefits of SSI Sector through the development of common facilities centres, formation of federations, cluster development etc.

What are the initiatives taken by KVIC?
Few major initiatives taken by KVIC are:-
E-Charkha:  KVIC in collaboration with Flexitron organisation, Bangalore has developed a 2 spindle charkha, capable of energising a rechargeable battery of 12 volt, has two output points which can be used for illumination of lamps, transistor and charging of cell phone.

Under the Convergence Programme of KVIC, two villages, viz – Suri and Agariya in State have been adopted for 100% employment and socio-economic development through KVI Programmes.

Convergences with the following institutes have been established to promote REGP in rural areas:
Confederation of Indian Industries (CII)
Ministry of Panchayati Raj
Seema Suraksha Bal
Dept. of Women and Child Welfare, Army Wives Welfare Association.
Nehru Yuva Kendra
I.T.C. group for marketing of Mangal Deep Agarbatti.

Welfare and other measures to promote Khadi and V.I. Programme:
1. Artisan Insurance Scheme “Janashree Bima Yojana” fort Khadi artisans providing insurance cover against death and disability.
2. Artisan Welfare Fund Trusts have been set up in all States, which maintains Artisan Welfare Fund providing security for the savings of Khadi artisans.
3. Categorisation of Khadi Institutions to provide fast tract support to good Institutions
4. Bio-technology, a new area undertaken by KVIC as a part of which bio-fertiliser, bio-pesticides and other eco-friendly products are being promoted.
5. Holding of exhibitions at all levels to take Khadi & V.I. products at the doorsteps of the ultimate consumers.
6. Special attention is being given to North Eastern States by providing 10% of the total budget allocation.
7. Renovation and modernisation of major Khadi Gramodyog Bhavans to boost sales of KVI Products.

Product Development Design Intervention and Packaging (PRODIP):
New Scheme was introduced to allow the institutions to engage professional designer for better designing of Khadi apparels.  The PRODIP scheme has had a significant impact in terms of innovative designs aimed at improving product quality, mostly in the ready-to-use form. The scheme also facilitates village industries products to improve the packaging to attract the customers. Under the scheme, so far 428 projects have been established in the country. National Institute of Design (NID) and National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) are collaborators of KVIC for the design development.

Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI):
This scheme was launched to have focused approach on rural traditional industry clusters with a view to make them more productive, competitive and to facilitate for their sustainable development through out the country. This will help traditional Industries market driven and provide sustainable employment to the rural populace. 79 such clusters have been identified so far under Khadi & Village Industries.

What are the Schemes of KVIC ?
KVIC has been implementing various schemes for the benefit of rural artisans and youth. Major steps taken in this direction are :
Rural Employment Generation Programme (REGP) : To augment the Rural Employment Generation, the KVIC and Govt. of India introduced REGP scheme for viable Village Industries projects to be implemented in the rural areas. The REGP marked the opening of a new chapter in the development of village industries under KVI Sector. The eligible agencies to take benefit of the scheme are (i) individuals (rural artisans/entrepreneurs) ; (ii) institutions, co-operative societies, Trusts for project upto Rs.25.00 lakhs.

In case of weaker section beneficiaries viz. SC/ST/OBC/Women/Physically Handicapped/Ex-Servicemen and minority Community beneficiaries/institutions and for Hill, Border & Tribal Areas, North Eastern Region, Sikkim, Andaman & Nicobar  islands, and Lakshadweep ; Margin Money grant is at the rate of 30 percent of the project cost upto Rs.10.00 lakhs and above this amount upto Rs.25.00 lakhs, it is 10 percent of the remaining cost of the project. The borrower is required to invest his own contribution of 10 percent of the project cost. In case of SC/ST and other weaker section borrowers, the beneficiary contribution is to extend of 5 percent of the project cost.
Rural Industries Service Centre (RISC) : A Rural Industries Service Center Scheme was launched during 10th Plan in order to provide common facility services to KVI units, in a cluster based manner. 133 such units were established during 10th Five Year Plan and it is proposed to expand the Scheme in a large scale during 11th Five Year Plan period.
Research and Development efforts :-
In order to remove the drudgery of artisans KVIC gives focus on better input of R&D. Under this programme during 10th Five Year Plan it has established interfaces with 12 national level R&D institutes, laboratories under the control of Textile Committee etc. Assistance is also extended to established in-house lab by the implementing agencies. Equal attention has been given for better invention and technology input in order to make the production operations easy and to enhance the productivity of beneficiaries.

How do you see the Khadi and Village Industries in 2020 ?
The KVIC Mission 2020:
Creating a powerful network of 100 million people engaged in rural Industries sector along with the direct engagement of 10 million people of KVI sector.
KVIC network to register consistent growth during the 11th Five Year Plan, targeting turnover of Rs.100,000 crore before 2020.
Besides fulfillin.g basic consumer goods needs at the national level, the KVIC network to emerge as the best range of eco-friendly among top Global player.
A dedicated bank for the sector, managed by and for the stake holders for the network.
KVIC to emerge as a self sustainable body, generating models for sector growth and to play the larger role in the Indian economy.

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