Khadi, a hand-woven natural fabric common in India, continues to surprise with its multifarious uses. In its latest avatar in these pandemic times, it is being used widely for making face masks.
These masks prepared from double twisted Khadi cotton or silk fabric and are cost effective, breathable, washable, reusable and biodegradable.
The masks are double or triple-layered. Silk masks are typically triple-layered, with the two inner layers made of cotton.
Khadi face masks have grown in popularity across India due to their fine quality and affordable price, and plans are afoot to export them to overseas markets.
The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has welcomed the new opportunities for Khadi. Its Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena said recently that the massive demand of Khadi masks is a major step in the direction of “Atmanirbhar Bharat” (self-reliant India).
“Khadi artisans have had great opportunity to further their income in these difficult times, “ he noted.
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KVIC will look at exporting Khadi face masks to countries like the USA, Dubai, Mauritius, and several European and Middle East countries through the Indian embassies, after the Ministry of Commerce lifted the ban on the export of non-medical masks.
Domestically, the KVIC has just received its largest order ever, with the Indian Red Cross seeking 180,000 face masks.
The execution of this order will require over 20,000 meters of fabric which will generate 9,000 additional man-days for the Khadi artisans, the KVIC said.
The Jammu and Kashmir government ordered 700,000 khadi masks. Other previous buyers have been the Indian Railways, Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Prime Minister’s Office, and several Central government ministries.