Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) on Wednesday launched India's first-ever Khadi fabric footwear.
Speaking at the launch event of the footwear via video conferencing, Nitin Gadkari, the Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), said that each pair of shoes and sandals is priced between Rs 1,100 and Rs 3,300.
Initially, 15 designs for female footwear and 10 designs for male footwear have been introduced. The footwear will be sold on the KVIC portal.
Highlighting the potential of the country's footwear sector for employment generation and exports, Gadkari said, "I believe that after China and the US, India is the third-largest footwear manufacturer globally. It is a Rs 1.45 lakh crore industry, with a domestic market of Rs 85,000 crore and exports of Rs 45,000 to Rs 55,000 crore."
The minister said he will request actor-turned-politician Hema Malini to endorse the Khadi footwear on a pro-bono basis and become its brand ambassador.
Last year, Gadkari, while beginning his second innings as the MSME Minister, mentioned that he aims to globalise MSME and Khadi products through joint ventures.
With this step, Khadi will be joining India's footwear bandwagon that houses numerous homegrown, as well as international brands, such as Woodland, Liberty, Red Chief, Lakhani, Nike, Adidas, Puma, etc. The government has been taking steps to reduce India's dependence on imports and bolster domestic manufacturing.
According to a recent data released by the government, exports from India to China and the US have risen by 26.3 percent and 15.5 percent, respectively, whereas imports have declined by 24.5 percent and 34.3 percent, respectively.
In fact, in a bid to bring the spotlight on the domestic manufacturers, the government also banned the import of air conditioners with refrigerants, and also revised the policy for exporting alcohol-based hand sanitisers.