The government is aiming at making the 'Khadi' a global product identity of India. But before, taking the major step, it plans to put its house in order. A global identity of Khadi would also allow many rural artisans to earn better.
The Khadi Village and Industries Commission (KVIC), an autonomous body under the ministry of MSME, has sent legal notices to four Indian companies and institutions for using the word Khadi in their brands or as a trademark in an energetic push bid to reclaim the brand for the nation.
In fact, any registered Khadi institution, company or organisation is allowed to use the word 'Khadi' for authentication of the product and not as brand of their own, according to a government source. After the legal course is over the government is planning to market Khadi globally and could brand it "Cloth of India."
This is towards increasing India's soft power. "Globally, a recent survey revealed that after Yoga, Khadi has second most recollection by non-Indians towards India. They are open to give Khadi mark certification to all seeking it, subject to fulfilment of certain terms and conditions, said Vinai Kumar Saxena, chairman, KVIC. Saxena also confirmed that six legal notices were sent to companies for peddling "spurious products" as Khadi.
The government has already approached the United Nations and sought help in promoting Khadi as a product. ET has the copy of all the five notices that were sent to companies by an Ahmedabad based law firm, YJ Trivedi & Co that was recently mandated to fight and defend KVIC's brand 'Khadi' in domestic market.
The law firm has filed six trademark cases under section 21of The Trademarks Act 1999 before the trademark registrar, the authority who registers brands. Notices have been issued to BK Khadi, Girdhar Khadi, Madhubani Khadi Udyog and Rakhi Khadi. Earlier, KVIC had slapped a notice to Fabindia Overseas Pvt Ltd in 2015 and asked Fabindia to stop advertisement and sale of products that were not genuine Khadi. It sent another notice in February 2017.
Even though any company or organisation is able to prove it that they are makers of genuine khadi cloth and is also registered with the KVIC as per the statutory requirement, they still do not have the right to use the word "Khadi" as a brand," Jatin Trivedi, senior advocate YJ Trivedi & Co, said. Under the law the authentication of genuine Khadi is defined in the KVIC Act.
It should meet with three major criteria: First - the cloth should be hand-woven in India, second - it should be made out of cotton, silk or woollen yarn or from a mixture of any two or all of such yarns, and the third - it should be hand-spun in India.
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