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IAS Officer Crafting New Designs For Khadi And Honey in Maharashtra

After taking charge of Maharashtra State Khadi Village Industries Board, CEO R. Vimala has been promoting Khadi and honey throughout the state She is popularising the famous Madhuban honey sourced from Mahabaleswar, Sindhudurg, and Valley of Flowers in Satara Khadi clothes are also being promoted on a large scale by introducing trendy casual and formal wear in stores and exhibition stalls
Indian Masterminds Stories

Ever since Ms. R. Vimala took charge as CEO of Maharashtra State Khadi Village Industries Board (MSKVIB) on 7 July, the 2009-batch IAS officer has been persistently focussing on popularising Khadi with her own tagline: “Wear Khadi with pride, once a week at least.”

Not only khadi wear, she has also been pushing organic honey, handmade paper, natural spa products, understanding the mood of the market which shows a distinctive lean towards eco-friendly products.

Speaking to Indian Masterminds, Ms. R. Vimala outlined her plans for the Khadi village industries in Maharashtra in detail.

IAS officer R. Vimala (left) with a eco-friendly Ganesha and (right) with a friend and Madhuban honey

HONEY FOR HEALTH

Cashing in on the current rage for organic products, Ms. Vimala has been trying to popularise the famous Madhuban honey of Maharashtra. This certified organic honey is sourced from Mahabaleshwar, Sindhudurg, and the Valley of Flowers in Satara. It is completely chemical and residue free.

“I realised that this product has great value as people are very health conscious nowadays and market trends show a significant leaning towards organic products,” she said.

A Maharashtra State Khadi Village Industries Board stall in an exhibition

This honey is now being aggressively pushed into the market, and to create more visibility and awareness of its brand, Madhuban, it is being sold in stalls in exhibitions held across the state.

At the same time, rural people are being encouraged to take up bee keeping as an auxiliary activity for earning more income. “To help the bee keepers, we have a buy back policy in place so that they have an assured market. We buy the pure honey and the pure wax that are collected from their bee boxes.”

She pointed out that by supporting the bee keeping village industry, they are also supporting the agriculture and horticulture industries, as the bees help in pollination. “At the same time, this is also helping in conservation of nature and maintaining the ecological balance,” she said.

IAS officer R. Vimala in a stall showcasing MSKVIB products

BEE TOURISM

Another plan she has envisioned is to amalgamate bee keeping into tourism. Along with bee keeping and honey, ecological development is being promoted through tourism, by developing Honey Villages.

“Manghar in Mahabaleshwar had won a state award for best innovative project during the previous CEO Anshu Sinha’s tenure. Another village, Patgaon, has been nominated for a tourism award. We are also promoting the Bee Keeping Institute in Mahabaleshwar as a tourist destination,” she said.

TRENDY KHADI

Besides honey, Khadi clothes are being promoted on a large scale by introducing an array of casual to formal wear in the market through exhibitions. “Earlier, these exhibitions used to he held only twice a year, but, now, I am trying to add more, to give more and more people a feel of Khadi. Recently, in one such exhibition, we sold products worth 6-7 lakh in 3 days.”

The officer In a shop full of Khadi wear

Other than Khadi wear, MSKVIB also supports other cottage industries and facilitates short term loans at low rates of interest, and also gives subsidies to set up their own units. Such units manufacture a variety of products like boutique furniture, mattresses, pillow covers, organic soaps, spa products, etc.

A spa product line that is becoming quite popular is the Hadi Organics. “It is a small scale unit that we support. They have some unique products like the bath bombs. If you put one of those in warm water and soak your feet, it is very relaxing,” Ms. Vimala said.

Other popular products are handmade collectibles from recycled wastes and handmade paper. The USP of all these products is that they are environment friendly, like the eco-friendly Ganesha which was a hit during the recent Ganesh Utsav celebrations in the state.


Indian Masterminds Stories

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