Traditional textile industry has direct linkages with rural economy but it is mostly unorganised and diintegrated. In India, amongst 6.6 million women artisans, very few are able to contribute in socio economic growth of the country as opportunities of livelihood in non-farm sector are either sparse or not women friendly. Rural producers also have inadequate linkages to raw materials sources, limited technology support and tough access to markets.
To address this problem, Bhartiya Harit Khadi Gramodaya Sansthan (BHKGS) brought forward 10 spindle solar charkhas (compact spinning wheel which runs through solar power) to Khanwan village under Narhat block of Nawada district of Bihar as a tool of economic empowerment of rural women.
The move to switch to solar charkhas makes it a shining example of an employment-generating, eco-friendly initiative. Khadi is natural, zero waste, with zero carbon footprint, and these charkhas save electricity.
Distribution of raw material and collection of finished goods happens at their doorstep through a nearby Training cum Production Centre (TPC) which entirely runs on solar power.
The TPC acts as a facilitator of training and production of value added activities such as dyeing, printing, weaving, stitching, embroidery etc. The facility, set up inside the village in around five acres, has a capacity of training 500 candidates at a time in various textile related activities.
This project is one of its kind in India providing more than a thousand women entrepreneurs in the village who have solar charkhas installed in their home. Khanwan has become flagship centre for Solar Charkha Mission.
The Nawada initiative has also been recognised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who talked about it in one of his Mann Ki Baat program.
Recently, an amino acid manufacturing plant and bio-compost unit has been set up which require human hair, cow-urine and animal-dung. These raw materials are being purchased locally from the Khanwan village adding to the income of each household.
Khanwan is the birthplace of the first chief minister of Bihar, Sri Krishna Singh. The village has been adopted by BJP’s Giriraj Singh under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojna – a rural development programme broadly focusing upon the development in the villages.