Bengaluru: Khadi sales in Karnataka have decreased from Rs. 385 crores in 2019 to Rs. 295 crores in 2020 according to the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC). According to Rammana, Development Officer, Khadi Village and Industries Board, the khadi sector suffered a 23.22 percent drop in sales during lockdown.
The government has started an online khadi portal but it hasn’t boosted sales yet. Secretary of Khadi Ashram, Shashi Prasad said, “People don’t prefer to buy khadi online as they can’t see the quality of the product so we prefer selling only handicrafts online.” Some khadi stores introduced products like soaps and shampoos but they had to dispose them off as they expired during lockdown. Now they are sceptical about getting those products back in the store.
Chairman of Khadi Ashram, Shiv Prasad said, “People from North Karnataka used to buy khadi but because of lockdown they don’t come. We are in huge loss.” Due to restrictions on travelling, the profit that khadi shops earned from tourists has also taken a huge dip. Mayur Goyel, owner of Khadi Bhandar said they had to cut down on staff. He said, “Earlier there were 15 people and now it’s just the six of us.” Loss of livelihood has forced many in the khadi sector to change their profession. Some of them have opened small stores for selling fast fashion clothes.
To help khadi manufacturers, government has launched schemes like the Market Promotion and Development Assistance scheme for khadi sector. The overall objective of the schemes is to ensure increased earnings for the khadi producers and sellers.