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What the Government can do
It is legitimate to ask what Congress Ministers will do for khaddar and other village industries now that they are in office. Whether a Minister is separately appointed or not, a department for the work is surely necessary.
In these times of scarcity times of food and clothing, this department can render the greatest help. The Ministers have experts at their disposal through the A.I.S.A. and the A.I.V.I.A. It is possible today the whole of India in Khadi on the smallest outlay and in the shortest time possible. Each provincial Government has to tell the villagers that they must manufacture their own Khaddar for their own use. This brings in automatic local production and distribution. And there will undoubtedly be a surplus for the cities at least to a certain extent which, in its turn, will reduce the pressure on the local mills. The latter will then be able to take part in supplying the want of cloth in other parts of the world.
How can this result be broth about?
The Government should notify the villagers that they will be expected to manufacture Khaddar for the needs of their villages within a fixed date after which no cloth will be supplied to them. The Government in their turn will supply the villagers with cotton seed or cotton whenever required, at the cost price and the tools of manufacture also at cost, to be recovered in easy installments payable in, say, five years or more. They will supply them with instructors wherever necessary and undertake to by surplus stock of Khaddar, provided that the villagers in question have their cloth requirement supplied from their own manufacture. This should do away with cloth shortage without fuss and with very little overhead charges.
The villages will be surveyed and a list prepared of things that can be manufactured locally with little or no help and which may be required for village use or for sale outside, such for instance, as ghani-pressed oil and cakes, burning oil prepared through ghanis, hand pounded rice, tadgud, honey, toys mats, hand-made paper, village soap, etc. If enough care is thus taken the villages, most of them as good as dead or dying, will hum with life and exhibit the immense possibilities they have of supplying most of their wants themselves and of the cities and towns of India.
Then there is the limitless cattle wealth of India suffering from criminal neglect. Goseva Sangh, as yet not properly experienced, can still supply valuable aid.
Without the basic training the villagers are being starved for education. This desideratum can be supplied by the Hindustani Talimi Sangh.
Harijan, 28-4-46