Come 15th August, the streets and lanes will be full of flags. We will find a variety of flags made of paper, plastic, satin, silk, etc. But have you ever heard that ‘Khadi’ is the only approved fabric to manufacture the Indian national flag? May be not. We are celebrating Independence Day every year but very few if us know that there are a pre-defined set of guidelines for manufacturing and handling the flag.
National flag should be of khadi
The first Indian national flag was designed by Pingali Venkayya in 1916 with the help of M.K. Gandhi. He made the flag with hand-spun yarn ‘khadi’.
In 1951, after India became republic, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) came up with some specific rules regarding the manufacture, usage and conduct of flag. These regulations have undergone various revisions and recently updated in 2008.
According to BIS and Indian Flag Code, Indian national flag must, by law, be made only with hand spun or hand woven khadi and the raw materials of khadi are restricted to cotton, silk and wool.
KKGSS – Only certified institution to supply flags for the entire country
One more interesting fact about National flag is that there is only one manufacturing unit in India which is authorised to manufacture Indian flags. Located in Hubli, Karnataka, Khadi Gramodyoga Samyukta Sangha (KKGSS) is the only institution entitled to supply flags to the entire country. It manufactures only cotton khadi flags.
Recently, Indian cotton is replaced by Bt. cotton and is approved by BIS. It meets all the requirements as that of Indian cotton.
Handy small flags can be of paper
In 2006, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has sent a special note to all the states and Union government on usage of small flags.
It mentioned that “the flag made of paper may be waved by public on occasions of important National, cultural and sports events. However, such paper flags should not be discarded or thrown on the ground after the event. As far as possible, flags should be disposed of in private with the dignity of the flag.” It also discouraged the use of plastic flags as they create environmental issues.
Violation is an offense
Anyone who violates Flag Code by manufacturing defective flags can attract imprisonment of up to three years with a fine.