ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: Ambar Charkha Target Lowered.

Editorial from Volume X, No 8, February 22, 1958.

The earlier calculations made by the protagonists of Ambar Charkha are now proving to be overoptimistic and even employment potential which is its chief merit has been revised downwards. It was expected that each Ambar Charkha would provide work for at least two men for 300 days in a year. On this assumption, the Khadi and Village Industries Board had put up its programme for the manufacture and introduction of 2.5 million multispindle charkhas over a period of five years which would offer prospects of employment to about five million people. The prospect of finding five million jobs naturally attracted prompt attention from the Government, and last year a budget allocation of Rs 10 crores was made for the programme which was and still is in the experimental stage. Now, in actual practice, it is found that one charkha cannot provide work for more than one man and, owing to the high fatigue factor, the average number of days put in approximates to 200. The cost of Ambar yarn has accordingly turned out to be much higher than expected, and though this is sought to be countered by pooling Ambar Khadi with Khadi made from ordinary charkhas, it remains high. Thus, the cost of unbleached Khadi per square yard now works out at Rs 1.62 instead of Rs 1.25 as estimated earlier. Since the cost of ordinary Khadi is around Rs 1.87 per square yard, the pooled price Khadi will be somewhere between Rs 1.62 and Rs 1.87.

The low remunerat ion t he Ambar Charkha offers is the principal handicap. Despite the subsidy, the payment to workers remains substantially below the average wage for an unskilled village labourer. A worker was expected to earn 12 annas per day by working the Ambar Charkha, but the average daily earning for spinners would be much lower, if allowance is made for the higher fatigue factor which brings down t he working days in a year from 300 to 200. The response to the charkha has, therefore, been mainly from the womenfolk; men have taken to it only as a supplementary source of income... In order to make it more attractive for the spinners, it has been decided to raise their payment from 1½ annas to two annas for hank. Side by side, research is going on to evolve a more efficient lower cost model.

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