For the first time ever, the presumably unprofitable Gramodyog (village industries) and khadi industry witnessed sales of over Rs. 50,000cr last year.
The surprise element was the spurt in demand of Gramodyog - furniture, cosmetics, honey and more - mostly manufactured under supervision of women.
Meanwhile, the government has been pushing khadi sales hard with different schemes.
Government aims to double khadi sales by 2018-19
According to Khadi & Village Industries Commission, Gramodyog sales grew 24% to almost Rs. 50,000cr. Khadi sales grew too, up by 33% from Rs. 1,635cr in 2015-16 to Rs. 2,005cr. The government has set a target of doubling khadi sales to Rs. 5,000cr by 2018-19.
What's causing this shift in fashion?
"Earlier, khadi was only preferred by the political class," said brand expert Harish Bijoor.
But producers and designers have started looking towards natural and sustainable fabrics; there is also concern among millennial consumers about whether the products they are buying help to create jobs.
Another advantage working for khadi is that it sells through both government-owned stalls as well as retailers.
Who can sell Khadi in India?
KVIC provides for the Khadi Registration Seva tag, a process that takes 45 days for completion.
The vendor has to pay Rs.10,000 as fee for the certificate.
Moreover, there needs to be a specified list highlighting that the business has 25 spinners and 5 weavers.
As long as these "checks and balances" and regulations are followed anyone can retail Khadi.
The desi industry looks westwards
A survey in 21 markets revealed that khadi and yoga are the most recalled Indian brands. Though the government hasn't yet exported khadi, it is mulling the option amid rising sales. "It will help make khadi an international brand," said KVIC chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena.