ATMANIRBHAR BHARAT – A JOURNEY FROM SELF DEPENDENCE TO SELF RELIANCE

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My parents have always instilled in me the values of being self reliant. Self reliance surely makes one sail through any situation in life.

In recent weeks, when Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in his speech about his long-term vision for the economy, through Atmanirbhar Bharat, I saw those values taking a formal shape at the national level intended towards making India a powerful country in the global economy. But the question is, did we understand what “Atmanirbhar Bharat” is? How does it benefit India? Is it a step towards making India a powerful country in the international world? Which industries would be benefited the most? What’s in store for Indian businessmen?

At the very onset, it is important to clarify that this is about self-reliance and not about isolationism. The idea is to be an active participant in the post-COVID global supply chains as well as the need to attract foreign direct investment. Additionally, the PM spoke of freeing Indian entrepreneurship and innovation from bureaucratic hurdles. This is about decentralized localism that takes pride in local brands, emphasizes resilience and flexibility and encourages local capacity building and indigestion. For the first time in history has the approach to growth been turned towards internal strength with the slogan, vocal for local to make it global – a demand based economy system, which is self-producing and self consuming.

It is beyond doubt, that the pandemic has caused gigantic economic disruptions. The economy has been in a lockdown since past two months. The migrant workers dislocation and domestic transport disruption have adversely impacted agriculture, business units, suppliers and exporters.

Of everyone who would benefit from the “Atmanirbhar Bharat”, MSMEs stand to gain the most. They would benefit from a range of measures from easy access to loan to de-risking the sector with a credit guarantee to help banks draw comfort. There has also been a particular emphasis on technology driven systems in health and education, administrative reforms, and privatization of public sectors units. The space and atomic energy for private sector also entails benefits for technology space.

In a recent video released by Startup Central, ET Now covered Mamaearth, a natural and toxin care baby care product startup, under their vocal for local series. Varun Alagh, Founder – Mamaearth says “The Voice for Local has clearly helped a lot. We are seeing a lot of conversation. We are also seeing a lot influencers and consumers who are buying and tagging us on Instagram. Instagram has actually created a local brand tag and people are putting that on. People are very proud to discuss about their local purchases. Since the start of Make in India, there was a positive feel which we used to feel when we used to talk to consumers. When people would know that we are an India made brand they used to be really happy about it. They used to feel proud about the fact that there are products like these that are coming out of India. This will help all of us to take the brand not only to national levels but also at international levels.”

We should also focus on how the approach has been people centric. Increase in allocation for MGNREGS by Rs. 40,000 crore to accommodate migrant workers, faster refunds, low cost housing and ease of doing business will help as cushion against the adverse impact of the Covid-19 crisis. This in turn would support the businesses when it comes to meeting the manpower supply shortage.

The scheme is a larger vision to set India as an economically powerful country in the world economy. An investment in the local supply chain to make it robust will help it to be a part of the global supply chain. We have to focus on cutting down imports, improving productivity, setting targets and being self-dependent in strategic sectors, hence bringing our focus to create Made in India products. One has to focus on intent, inclusion and infrastructure, balancing between bringing the economy back on track and fighting to eradicate the corona virus.

The twelve sectors under the radar of the scheme are food processing, organic farming, iron; aluminium and copper; agro chemicals; electronics; industrial machinery; furniture; leather and shoes; auto parts; textiles; and coveralls, masks, sanitisers and ventilators.

An urge to the readers would be to see Atmanirbhar Bharat as not just a slogan but a vision that has deep roots in India’s intellectual tradition. So, when PM Modi speaks of self-reliance, we should stand up confidently and in full power to set our foot in the global economy. Wishing everyone a best wishes to fight it out, only to come out with flying colours. Jai Hind!

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