And, it is the humble papad, honey and cosmetics that have contributed to a major chunk of the state-owned entity’s revenues, with the much-hyped khadi products contributing just around 4.3% of the overall sales during the last financial year. KVIC’s sales growth is the fastest in four years and comes after a “moderate” 13% rise in 2017-18. The entity managed to stay in the black with a small profit of Rs 15 crore.
KVIC’s sales are almost twice that of HUL’s, the country’s largest consumer goods company which reported gross sales of a little under Rs 38,000 crore during the last financial year, although its net profit was 400 times higher at over Rs 6,000 crore.
Going by its annual revenue in 2018-19, Khadi and Village Industries Commission will compare with top 25 listed Indian companies with sales which are a little lower than Bharti Airtel’s Rs 81,000 crore but a shade higher than Grasim Industries’ Rs 72,970 crore.
KVIC chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena told TOI that partnerships with public and private sector enterprises, aggressive marketing and a renewed push from the Modi government had led to the entity more than double its sales over the last five financial years, from Rs 33,135 crore in 2014-15.
During the current financial year, Saxena is targeting a 20% growth in village industry sales, which he hopes will touch the Rs 85,000-crore mark, while looking to push khadi sales to Rs 5,000 crore, which will be an increase of over 50%. During 2018-19, Khadi sales rose 28% to Rs 3,215 crore.
“Mr Modi has to be given credit for the growth in awareness of Khadi. Sales of Khadi products have shot up in the last five years. Most private brands now have a Khadi range. For instance, Arvind (Mills) has Khadi denims. The quirkiness of Khadi material makes it a fashion staple,” said Arvind Singhal, founder of retail consultancy, Technopak. For instance, first and business class passengers of Air India on international routes receive amenity kits supplied by KVIC. Similarly, it has successfully tied up with textile and retail majors such as Arvind Mills and Raymond to supply Khadi material that is subsequently marketed and branded by them.
While sales have been rising, ensuring that production keeps pace was a challenge. But that too seems to have picked up in recent years. KVIC provides employment to around 5 lakh people under the Khadi category and 1.5 crore people under ‘village industries’.