Guwahati, January 9 (IANS): As part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' and as a mark of respect to Mahatma Gandhi, the BJP-led Assam government would soon start providing khadi clothes free of cost to state government employees belonging to grade IV, an official said on Saturday.
An official from the CM's secretariat said that Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal held a meeting with the officials and the concerned minister on Friday and decided to provide khadi shirts, and shawls and stoles made of 'Eri', a variety of silk produced in Assam, to grade IV employees in a phased manner starting this month.
"The khadi clothes would be given to both male and female employees as gifts and they would use them as their official uniform," the official said.
Chairing a meeting to expedite the process of providing free khadi clothes to state government employees, the Chief Minister said that the move is part of the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat' (self-reliant India) campaign and to promote Assamese weavers.
Sonowal mentioned that the move would strengthen the khadi industry in Assam and empower local weavers as nearly 80,000 khadi shirts, shawls and stoles would be required to be knitted in the first phase to be given as gifts to grade IV employees.
He asked Handloom and Textile Minister Ranjit Dutta, who was present in the meeting, to ensure successful and expeditious implementation of the scheme.
According to an official statement, the Chief Minister said that the khadi industry is the pride of the local industry and its promotion would amount to endorsing the ideology of self-reliance and empowerment of every single man and woman.
Sonowal reiterated the need for strengthening the Assam Khadi and Village Industries Board for giving khadi and village industries a fresh lease of life.
He said that the government would take steps for opening new outlets to sell khadi clothes. He also said that giving adequate importance to khadi industries would amount to paying tribute to Mahatma Gandhi who guided India towards Independence.
Chairman of Assam Khadi and Village Industries Board, Kamala Kalita, and other senior officials of the government were present at the meeting.