Speaking at the Lok Sabha, National Congress Party member Dhananjay Mahadik, along with other MPs, demanded that the famed Kolhapuri chappals be patented at the earliest.
While debating on the Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI) Bill 2017, Mahadik said that patenting of Kolhapuri chappals was paramount to the survival of the cottage industry.
The debate on the FDDI Bill 2017
FDDI Bill, 2017
What is the FDDI Bill 2017?
The Footwear Design and Development Institute Bill 2017, apart from declaring FDDIs as institutes of national importance, seeks to facilitate and promote training, teaching, and research in all disciplines associated with the design and development of footwear and leather products.
Currently, there are seven FDDIs in India, with five more to come up.
The Bill was passed by the House with voice vote.
Hardships faced by Kolhapuri artisans
Mahadik, who hails from the Kolhapur district in Maharashtra, said that Kolhapuri chappals are in great demand but fakes in the market are causing problems.
He said that about 3,500 Kolhapuri chappal artisans from his parliamentary segment were being directly affected by the fakes, leading to severe financial hardships.
Mahadik's call was also supported by TMC member Saugata Roy.
Love India news?
Stay updated with the latest happenings.
India "must" protect the Kolhapuri chappal industry
"I demand patent for Kolhapur footwear as similar footwear are being produced and sold in other areas of the country. Fakes are being produced and we must protect the industry in Kolhapur," said Mahadik.
Heated debate over cow vigilantism
The issue of cow protectionism and its implications on the leather industry inevitably came up during the debate.
While Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharam defended UP CM Yogi Adityanath's decision to shut down illegal slaughterhouses, CPI(M) member Mohammed Salim questioned the move's impact on people's livelihoods.
Congress member Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and RJD member Jaiprakash Narayan Yadav also criticized cow vigilantism.
Cow protectionism debates go on
While Sitharam defended Yogi Adityanath's decision by saying that it was his "legitimate duty" and that cow protectionism was "the spirit behind the freedom movement", Mohammed Salim said that cow vigilantes were taking "our country backwards".
Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharam on FDDIs
Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharam said that FDDIs would currently be restricted to 12.
However, she assuaged the opposition of high rates of recruitment and "very good jobs" for FDDI students as a balance for the relatively high cost of admission.
Seats for women and SCs, STs and OBCs would be reserved, she added.
She also spoke of FDDIs as modern and globally competitive institutions.
Costs do not deter students, says Commerce Minister
"The course is self financed, capital expenditure is not recovered from the students. Since job opportunity is there, cost has not deterred students to come and join," said Sitharam.