Animal activists are miffed with the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) after the inclusion of ivory as one of the small scale industries to be promoted.
The Prime Minister's Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) mentions "horns and bones including ivory" as one of the indicative sectors for artisans in its website and also in the hard copy being circulated. Activists are now wondering whether this is a typo or if the KVIC doesn't know that trade in ivory is banned.
Ivory has been listed as an indicative sector under 'Polymer and Chemical Based Industry' section along with industries like candles, leather works, chappal making, bindi making, mosquito killers, poly bags and many others. "I don't know how ivory got into this list. We really hope that it is an error and not a serious idea on trading in ivory. Trading in horns and bones may not be illegal depending on the animals, but ivory from elephants is long banned. The KVIC ought to change the wording," says Nugehalli Jayasimha, managing director, Humane Society International in India. The website strangely also doesn't mention if they are referring to faux ivory.
After receiving complaints from activists, the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) wrote to the KVIC under the ministry of micro, small and medium industries explaining that trade in ivory is banned. "It has come to the knowledge of this office that horns and bones, including ivory products, are displayed as project activity in the PMEGP online application form. It is therefore requested to look in to this matter urgently and remove the listing from the form." While activists are not amused with this strange "error" on a government document, they said that they haven't seen any ivory being sold from Khadi outlets yet.