The spinning-wheel will not become a power for the liberation of India in our hands unless we have made a deep study of the various sciences related to it. It will then not only make India free but point the way to the whole world.
These are the words of Mahatma Gandhi. To the uninitiated, the spinning wheel or charkha is a veritable symbol of economic self-sustenance made famous by Gandhi during the freedom struggle.
Last week, the Maharashtra government sanctioned its first Solar Charkha Common Facility Centre for the Chandrapur district. The Solar Charkha Mission under the Bhartiya Harit Khadi Gramodaya Sansthan (BHKGS) is part of a unique Government of India initiative to promote employment to poverty-saddled citizens living in rural and semi-urban areas of this country.
Through the mission, the government is looking to revive Khadi and provide the poor with various employment opportunities through solar charkhas and solar looms.
The BHKGS is registered under the Society Act-1860 and empanelled with the Khadi and Village Industries Commission or KVIC, a statutory body working under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
Under the Solar Charkha initiative, the aim is to manufacture khadi organically from cotton fibre or other eco-friendly and locally available resources like banana leaves or milk. Through the manufacturing of eco-friendly khadi, the government is looking to employ over five-crore people and establish khadi clusters in approximately 500 villages.
“We are also bringing in the Solar Charkha mission, under which 500 clusters would be established in almost every parliamentary constituency, which would create employment for five crore people. Presently, the Solar Charkha scheme is in operation in Surat (Gujarat), Nawada (Bihar), and Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh),” said Giriraj Singh, minister of MSMEs to Millennium Post.
Last month, ‘W,’ the women’s wear brand by TCNS Clothing had tied up with the mission for the launch of khadi items. Despite a return to indigenous khadi, questions surrounding scalability remain, with BHKGS claiming that solar power-driven charkhas and looms will help expand this employment opportunity.