If it's Monday, it should be khadi

SPIRIT OF ONENESS: Khadi-clad employees of the Karnataka Vikas Grameen Bank in front of the bank's head office in Dharwad.  

Staff Correspondent

HUBLI: In what might be considered a first, a regional rural bank has taken a novel step to promote khadi.

Every Monday, employees of the Karnataka Vikas Grameen Bank, which has its headquarters in Dharwad, will wear khadi to work.

This is not just for employees of a particular branch, but for all employees of the bank, which operates in nine districts in the State. The bank has 390 branches across the State and a staff strength of 2,200.

Employees of the bank started the week by wearing khadi to work on February 12. Chairman of bank G.M. Dhananjaya said the move was an effort to rekindle national pride in indigenous products and help generate employment in rural areas.

"If we take the lead in wearing khadi, it will benefit thousands of people including our customers," he said. The aim of the bank was to help eradicate poverty and generate employment, and khadi might be potent tool to achieve these objectives. "By wearing khadi we want to encourage demand for the product," he added.

Employees had purchased their khadi attire but the bank was likely to share some portion of the amount, he added.

According to sources in the bank, the management of the bank and the Staff Recreation Club were mulling over the idea of giving incentives to employees wearing khadi. Khadi, once a symbol of the struggle for Independence, has gradually lost its traditional market owing to competition. Despite innovations, there has not been much improvement in the living standards of khadi workers.

The production of khadi has gone down and it comprises only one per cent of cloth produced in the country. However, the industry provides employment to nearly 15 lakh people across the country.

The move by the KVG Bank might be a small step in promoting the product, but it will definitely help in improving the lives of khadi workers.