The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) will now explore the possibility of exporting the Khadi cotton and silk face masks to foreign countries after the Ministry of Commerce and Industries lifted the ban on export of non-medical/ non-surgical masks of all types. A notification in this regard was issued on May 16, by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).
The move comes days after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Local to Global” call in wake of the “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 KVIC has so far received orders to supply 8 lakh masks and has already supplied more than 6 lakh masks during Lockdown period. KVIC received orders from the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Prime Minister’s Office, Central Government ministries, J&K government and orders through email from general public. Apart from sale, over 7.5 lakh Khadi masks have been distributed free to the District Authorities by Khadi Institutions across the country.
The KVIC plans to supply khadi face masks in countries like Dubai, USA, Mauritius and several European and Middle East countries where Khadi’s popularity has significantly grown over the last few years. KVIC plans to sell Khadi masks in these countries through the Indian embassies.
KVIC Chairman, Vinai Kumar Saxena said the export of Khadi masks is an appropriate example of “Local to Global”. “The popularity of Khadi fabric and other Khadi products has grown significantly across the globe in recent years after the appeal by the Prime Minister. The export of Khadi masks will lead to spike in production and ultimately create large scale employment opportunity for artisans in India,” Saxena said. “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 added.
KVIC is specifically using Double Twisted Khadi fabric for manufacturing of these masks 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.