The change in uniform announced by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), from khaki knickers to brown trousers, may also transform the fortunes of lakhs of khadi weavers.
Khadi Village and Industries Commission (KVIC), a statutory body tasked with its promotion, among other things, has formally initiated talks with the Sangh leadership to supply cloth for the new uniform to RSS members.
Going by the fact that there are roughly over one crore active swayamsevaks, KVIC chairman Vinay Kumar Saxena said he was looking at securing business of at least Rs 1,000 crore with deal, which will mean better earnings for the weavers who currently earn a meagre Rs 100 to 150 a day.
"I am already talking to the RSS brass, though the deal is yet to be finalized. Besides business for KVIC, it will bring additional wages for hand-spinners in villages," he said. Such a deal will increase the working hours of each weaver in the khadi industry from three to four hours at present to five-six hours. Moreover, Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently appealed to government employees to wear khadi to work at least once a week. "Going by the popularity of Modi jackets that are increasingly being bought by college and school-going youths, we expect a similar market for the trousers," Saxena said.
"We have a strong network of over 7,050 khadi shops across all major cities and districts in the country and can supply the new trousers to the crores of swayamsevaks and RSS's own 'bhandars'.
If a bulk order is placed, KVIC can give up to a 3% concession on cloth and up to 35% on trousers. Thus the trousers will cost between Rs 350-600 depending on the type and texture of cloth used," he said.