With the Government of India’s initiatives like Go Vocal for Local, Atma Nirbhar Bharat, Make in India, all in full force, there is a general tone of consumers inclining towards indigenous products, instead of foreign brands, which are, at most times, difficult to pronounce! It was recently observed by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) that many sellers on various e-commerce platforms are claiming to be selling Khadi products. The KVIC is a statutory corporation under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and is the registered proprietor of the “Khadi India” brand. The KVIC is engaged in the planning, promotion, organisation, and implementation of programs for the development of Khadi and other village industries in the rural areas in coordination with other agencies engaged in rural development.

The KVIC noted that sellers were listing their products as Khadi or those related to Khadi, without having any actual basis of Khadi certification. What may appear as a simple claim of product description, is actually a violation of various statutory rights. Firstly, as per the Khadi Mark Regulations 2013, notified in the Gazette of India in July, 2013, no textile is to be sold or otherwise traded by any person or certified Khadi Institutions as “Khadi” or “Khadi products” in any form or manner without it bearing a Khadi Mark tag or label issued by the Committee under these Regulations. This means that the claim of a product being a Khadi product, cannot be invariably made without the proper authorisation by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission. Secondly, as stated above, KVIC is the registered proprietor of the marks “Khadi”, ,  in more than 27 classes.

The KVIC reportedly issued legal notices to more than 1000 different sellers on e-commerce platforms for misusing the mark “Khadi”. Reports also suggest that 2 of the top market players, Khadi Essentials and Khadi Global were found selling cosmetics in the name of Khadi. In 2018, KVIC filed a suit against Fabindia for misuse of the mark Khadi and selling factory-made cotton clothing as Khadi. KVIC claimed more than INR 500 Crore in damages. The case is presently pending before the Bombay High Court.

What is crucial here, is that this is not a mere violation of rights in a trademark, but also that of the rights of Khadi weavers in rural India, who make a livelihood out of hand-weaving Khadi garments and other local products. Branding any product as a Khadi, affects the authenticity of the actual Khadi products and takes away the benefits to which these weavers are rightfully entitled.

The is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament (No. 61 of 1956, as amended by act no. 12 of 1987 and Act No.10 of 2006. In April 1957, it took over the work of former All India Khadi and Village Industries Board.

The broad objectives that the KVIC has set before it are...

• The social objective of providing employment.

• The economic objective of producing saleable articles.

• The wider objective of creating self-reliance amongst the poor and building up of a strong rural community spirit.

Khadi and Village Industries Commission has ordered e-commerce portals like Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal and others to stop giving platform to ‘fake khadi’ products. 

Khadi is registered as a trademark by KVIC in Classes

Khadi India is the registered trademark of Khadhi VIC in classes 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 27, 29, 30, 32,

Last month, KVIC had issued legal notices to two firms for unauthorizedly selling cosmetics and other products in the name of Khadi. KVIC has also sought damages to the tune of Rs 500 crore from Fabindia which is pending before the Mumbai High Court, the ministry said.

The popularity of Khadi products has resulted in mushrooming of several entities selling products under the Khadi India brand. KVIC had served legal notices to over 1,000 firms using the brand name Khadi India to sell their products and thus causing damage to its reputation and loss of work to Khadi artisans.