Vocal for local: Khadi masks to be exported to corona-hit US, UAE

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Capitalising on the continuing need for face masks in major markets across the world, the government now plans to export khadi masks to the United Arab Emirates, United States and Mauritius.

The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) is gearing up to supply khadi face masks to these and several European and Middle East countries, where Khadi has become quite popular over the past few years. The masks will be sold in these nations through India’s embassies.

Touting the plan as a perfect example of the Prime Minister’s call to push indigenous products for use and export, KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena said the popularity of Khadi fabric and other products has grown significantly across the globe in recent years.

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“Face Masks are the most critical tool to fight the Corona Pandemic. These masks prepared from double twisted khadi fabric not only meet the quality and scale of demand but are cost effective, breathable, washable, reusable and bio-degradable,” Saxena said.

This fabric has been chosen for manufacturing as it helps retains moisture content inside, while providing an easy passage for the air to pass through. What makes these masks more special is the hand-spun and hand-woven cotton and Silk fabrics. Cotton acts as a mechanical barrier while Silk is an Electrostatic barrier.

KVIC hopes that the exports will lead to a spike in production and ultimately create large scale employment opportunity for artisans.

Khadi is a hand-woven natural fiber cloth originating from Eastern India and has been often used as an emblem of domestically produced goods.

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The Commerce and Industry Ministry had lifted the ban on export of non-medical/ non-surgical masks of all types on May 16, days after the Prime Minister’s call for “Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan”. Keeping in view the huge demand of face masks during the global Covid-19 pandemic, the KVIC has developed double layered and triple-layered Cotton as well as Silk face masks respectively, available in two colors for men and in multiple colors for women.

The body has so far received orders to the tune of 8 lakh masks, and has already supplied more than 6 lakh masks during lockdown period. Orders had come from Rashtrapati Bhavan, Prime Minister’s Office, Central Government ministries, J&K government and order institutions, as well as through email from general public, the Textile Ministry said on Thursday. Apart from sale, over 7.5 lakh Khadi masks have been distributed free to the District Authorities by Khadi Institutions across the country.

First Published: Thu, May 21 2020. 19:55 IST