Claiming that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was trying to implement the vision of Mahatma Gandhi, Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu Friday said the NDA government was “working on making khadi a globally accepted fabric.” He was speaking at the inauguration of the three-day textile event, “Farm to Fashion: Indian Textile Global Summit 2018”, organised by the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) and Maskati Cloth Market Mahajan (MCMM), in Ahmedabad.
“We are working on making khadi a globally accepted fibre. I just returned from South Africa where we had an event where all South African ministers came. In that programme, we called the best of models of South Africa and each one of them was wearing khadi. This was the first major programme in South Africa showcasing khadi as a fibre and costume,” said Prabhu.
“We are also working with Australia for a new market,” he said, adding that the government was scouting new markets in Latin American countries for garments and textiles produced in India. “We have already started talking to Latin America. I have already met 20 ministers from Latin America,” said the minister, who was in Central and South America to explore new markets for Indian textile products.
Talking about khadi, Prabhu said, “Why did (Mahatma) Gandhiji, think about khadi? It is very interesting… He realised that this is one product that will help grow the economy, create jobs and opportunities. It is one product that will have a perennial market. Gandhiji had great idea and vision. We have to convert that vision into modern-time idea. That is what Modiji is trying to do. So let us all work together and make it happen.”
Cotton fabrics occupy almost 59 per cent of the value chain in India. Man-made fibres stand at 23.5 per cent and Blended at 16.5 per cent. Khadi, wool and silk fabrics have only 1.4 per cent share in the country’s total fabric production.
The minister said that the natural fibre like cotton and jute will be the future of fashion as “people like to wear environment-friendly clothes”. “This is a great opportunity for India, when the world’s fashion is changing. Can we change along with the fashion or can we be the next change agent for fashion?” he added. “I feel, textile industry is going to be the industry of the future; as it was the industry of the past. Unfortunately, it is passing through crisis in the present,” he said, without elaborating at the event where about 500 progressive farmers from cotton-growing regions of Gujarat were invited.
Speaking at the event, Union Minister of State for Agriculture, Parshottam Rupala credited PM Modi for introducing BT Cotton in Gujarat as the state’s chief minister. “Gujarat was the first state to accept BT Cotton,” he said.
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