There are nine different types of flags; they’re all manufactured in Karnataka.

7 interesting facts about the only licensed manufacturer of national flags in IndiaScreenshot: Outer Space/YouTube
Features National Flag Friday, August 12, 2016 - 14:11

With three days left for Independence Day, the National Flag is being sold in the streets of towns and villages across India. While these are made of plastic, the real authentic cloth ones, are only made in a small town in northern Karnataka.

The only authorised unit in India to manufacture and supply national flags – the Karnataka Khadi and Gramodyoga Samyukta Sangh (Federation) (KKGSSF) – is located in Bengeri village in Dharwad district. This year, orders for flags began to be placed from the last week of June, The Times of India reported. Already, the federation has made sales of Rs 1.03 crore, a number which is expected to increase in the coming days. 

Here are a few interesting facts about the KKGSSF. 

-The KKGSSF was founded in November 1957 by a group of Gandhians working towards the promotion of Khadi and village industries. Venkatesh T. Magadi and Sriranga Kamat were the federation's first Chairman and Vice-Chairman respectively. The organisation's vision is "to provide more and more employments to Rural Unemployed youths under Khadi and Village Industries Sectors".

-The flag manufacturing unit was established in 2004, after the KKGSSF was accorded permission by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC). In 2006, it got a certification by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

-Spread over 17 acres, the head office has several facilities: a ready-made garment unit, an aluminium utensils unit, regional dye house unit, and Prakrutika sadhanalaya and yoga centre. It also runs a training institution of textile chemistry. 

-The flags are made according to standards set by BIS. According to KKGSSF' website, "Production of national flags as per strict guidelines of BIS is not an easy task, because, any defect in the flags such as colour, size, thread count, strength of yarn, fastness of the colours used for dyeing, etc. will be considered as a serious offence and is liable for a fine or imprisonment or both, as per the provisions of Flag Code of India 2002."

-The process of making the flag is quite difficult. It requires six steps: Hand spinning, hand weaving, bleaching and dyeing, chakra printing, stitching and toggling. More details here.

-The National Flag should be rectangular and with a ratio of 3:2, according to the Flag Code for India (FCI). But they are made in nine different sizes, each meant for different displays. For example, the 450X300 mm size flag is to be used by aircraft on VVIP flights, the 225X150 mm flag is meant for motor-cars and 150X100 mm size is for table flags. The biggest one is hoisted on bigger buildings with high mast.

-While the current prices of the flags are not available online, according to a 2013 report in The Hindu, "While the 6x4 variety costs Rs. 1,550, 3x4 1/2 type costs Rs. 900. The 2x3 variety is priced Rs. 550 and a ‘car flag’ costs Rs. 150." In 2014, the federation reportedly sold 75 lakhs units of the national flag. 

Watch this documentary by Outer Space on how the national flag is manufactured at KKGSS.

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