Criticising political rivals for not doing enough to popularise khadi in the years after Independence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said the material, “which made us realise the importance of Swadeshi” during the freedom struggle, was “seen with humiliation after Independence”.
Addressing Khadi Utsav on Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad, Modi also said revenue from its sales has multiplied four times in the last eight years under the NDA-2.
“Khadi, which stood for self-respect during the freedom struggle, was considered lowly (after Independence. Due to this, cottage industries related to khadi were completely destroyed,” he said.
Recalling the Gujarat government’s — then led by him — efforts to popularise khadi from Porbandar in 2003, Modi said, “We took an oath of ‘khadi for nation, khadi for fashion’. Many fashion shows were also held for promotion of khadi in Gujarat. People laughed, even humiliate us (then).”
“Today, top fashion brands in India are coming to join with Khadi — there is record production and it is clocking record sales. In the last eight years, there has been a four-fold growth in khadi sales. For the first time, (revenue of) Khadi and Gram Udyog Board…has exceeded Rs 1 lakh crore,” the PM said, addressing a gathering of 7,500 Khadi women workers from Surendranagar, Amreli and Rajkot districts on the riverfront.
Modi said workers are benefitting the most due to increased sales, and money from sales have percolated to rural areas and helped create employment there. “In the last eight years, 1.75 crore new jobs have been created in the khadi sector,” he pointed out.
Stating that khadi stands for sustainable and eco-friendly clothing and has potential to make a mark globally, Modi said Gujarat is leading a revival of the fabric by producing “green khadi”.
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“To mark the completion of 75 years of Independence, 7,500 daughters and sisters came together to spin the charkha and created history (today). It is my honour,” he said.
Modi also digitally inaugurated the new office building of Gujarat State Khadi Gram Udyog Board and a foot-overbridge over Sabarmati river that has been named “Atal Bridge”.
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