The latest path to serve the nation individually is to be more self-reliant, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented a broad blueprint of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant) initiative and pitched for not just ‘Make in India’ but also ‘Make For the World’, with focus on exports. It is the only path to rebuild India, popularly known as “New India”. However, self-reliant India will not only involve traders to encourage selling ‘Made in India’ products, but also requires people, in large scale to make them with a finesse comparable to those foreign made products worldwide. Indians don’t want to be a nation that just makes cheap products. But in order to do that, It needs to have more self-esteem.
On Aug 15, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unfurled the tricolour at the Red fort to mark India’s 74th Independence Day. Addressing the Nation, the PM stated about several issues ranging from management of the Covid-19 pandemic, measures to boost domestic manufacturing as part of the “Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (ABM),” steps to revive the economy with a focus on middle class people. He said that making farmers self-reliant has been a cornerstone of the ABM and is also proving to be a value addition to cater to the needs of the global market.
Highlighting key agricultural reforms, he asserted that farm trade has been freed up from all restrictions, enabling farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country. By drawing parallels with soap or cloth manufacturers who were able to sell their products anywhere at will, he said even after over seven decades of Independence, farmers did not enjoy the freedom to trade their commodities beyond local markets. In other words, “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” does not mean only reducing dependence on imports, but strengthening India’s capacity, creativity and skills.
Atmanirbharta in Krishi
With a goal to transform the Agriculture into a Sustainable Enterprise, Government of India, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare has recently taken a host of historical pro-agriculture landmark initiatives towards the development of “Aatmanirbhar Krishi” in the country by implementing three landmark reforms on 5th of June 2020, for the benefit of farming community, details of above are given below:
(1) The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020;
(2) The Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020;
(3) The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance 2020.
Significantly, above landmark ordinances in its pursuit to agriculture market reforms, provide farmers with greater freedom and regarded as another giant leap towards liberalization and free market regime. It will further motivate APMCs to be more effective and efficient in providing cost effective services to farmers for efficient marketing of their produce towards improving their income public at large.
As another step towards “Atmanirbharta in Krishi” the flagship scheme of Government of India, for instance, National Agriculture Market (e-NAM), is an innovative initiative in agricultural marketing which enhance farmers accessibility digitally to multiple number of markets and buyers, bring transparency in price discovery mechanism and price realization based on quality of produce.
Following the 74th Independence Day speech, The PM reiterated the significance of “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” and assured full support to fellow Indians during the need of the hour. Over 130 crore Indians have decided to become ‘Aatmanirbhar’ amid the coronavirus pandemic. “Becoming Aatmanirbhar (self-reliant) is mandatory. The PM said, I am confident that India will realise this dream. I am confident of the abilities, confidence and potential of my fellow Indians. Once we decide to do something, we do not rest until we achieve that goal,” he asserted.
Notably, The PM said that the Government is prioritising on improving the overall infrastructure for faster development with the help of National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) project and announced that over Rs 110 lakh crore would be invested in the NIP, Ministry of Finance attributed. Addressing for the seventh time in a row from the Red Fort, he said there are numerous challenges in becoming self-reliant, but there are millions of solutions as well.
For this, he stated that more than 7,000 projects have been identified across various sectors. National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) Project will play a crucial role in pulling the country out of impact of Covid 19. NIP is a project that will revolutionise India’s infra creation efforts. Many new jobs will be created, our farmers, youngsters, entrepreneurs will benefit.
The PM emphasised that now along with Make in India, we have to move forward with mantra of Make for World. In his address, he stated that the whole World has been noticing the reforms being pursued in India. As a result, the FDI inflow has broken all records. India witnessed 18% jump in FDI even during the Covid pandemic, he asserted.
Make in India, Make for World
The PM reiterated in his address “Vocal for Local” call and stated that India should strive for meeting needs of the world as well and wondered how long the country would continue to export raw materials and import finished products. He remarked that, India has vast natural resources and need of the hour was value addition. “Now we have to move ahead with the mantra of make for the world along with Make-in-India,”. He called for trimming imports and moving up in the value chain to step up exports of finished products instead of mere raw materials.
In fighting COVID-19, government of India held the longest and very strict lockdown which ensured minimum damage for the country. However, India had no capacity in many areas with zero COVID-19 hospitals. Now government have more than 800. India had only one lab for testing and now it gained more than 300. PPE suit, Mask and even the Swab Stick was getting imported, now India became ‘Aatmanirbhar’ which is a ‘Make in India’ story.
In the context of “National Education Policy 2020” (NEP), It points out at making every child learning at least one vocational skill and exposed to several more, it will certainly open the doors and take us towards ‘Made in India’ and ultimately Aatma Nirbhar Bharat. It focus on overhauling the curriculum, knowledge-based Board exams, rationalization of the syllabus to retain “core essentials” and thrust on “experiential learning and critical thinking” are really remarkable steps towards achieving the goal of self-reliant India. Another point that I wish to point out is that is has diversified Higher education in India and led to rebuilding itself to make ‘New India’ as one of the vibrant knowledge economies worldwide.
Meanwhile, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu stated on Aug 15 that, it is time for an objective introspection. At this juncture, we must ask ourselves what we aspire to achieve as a nation by 2022. By 2022, India must be Aatmanirbhar (self-reliant) in every sense of the word. We all must work with renewed vigour and determination to eradicate poverty, end social and gender discrimination and eliminate corruption,” Vice President asserted.
The PM, Who could have imagined that lakhs of crores of rupees would be directly transferred in the Jan Dhan accounts of the poor in the country? Who could have thought that such a big change would happen in the APMC Act for the benefit of farmers? One Nation-One Ration Card, One Nation – One Tax, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and Merger of Banks is the reality of the country today, he added.
Further, Seven crore poor families were given free gas cylinders, more than 80 crore people were provided free food with or without ration cards, about 90 thousand crores were directly transferred to bank accounts. Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan has also been started to provide employment to poor in their villages. This is also the first time when the EMI of a home loan for your home is getting a rebate of up to 6 lakh rupees during the payment period. Just last year, a fund of 25 thousand crore rupees has been established to complete thousands of incomplete houses, the Prime Minister said in his address to the Nation, the PM added.
The PM also highlighted that, 40 crore Jan Dhan accounts opened in the country, about 22 crore accounts are of women only. At the time of Corona, in April-May-June, about thirty thousand crore of rupees have been directly transferred to the accounts of women in these three months. In Corona’s age, we have seen what the role of Digital India campaign has been. Just last month, almost 3 lakh crore rupees have been transacted from BHIM UPI alone, he added.
The key area of the development is, major reforms unleashed through “Aatmanirbhar” package. The PM on May 12th, 2020, announced the Special economic and comprehensive package of ₹ 20 lakh crores which is 10% of the GDP to fight COVID-19 pandemic in India. It cares for every section of the society, including marginalized groups. EPI contribution was reduced for both employers and employees to the tune of ₹ 2760 crore. 2% interest subvention has been given on small and medium loans. 63 lakh self-help groups will receive collateral free lending upto ₹ 20 lakh which was restricted earlier to ₹ 10 lakh.
Consequently, It gave a clarion call for Aatma Nirbhar Bharat or Self-Reliant India Movement, it will play a significant role in the ‘ABM’. The five pillars of Aatmanirbhar Bharat are Economy, Infrastructure, Systems, Demography and Demand. In NEP 2020, Classroom communication has been directed towards competency-based learning will be the another pillar for self-reliance. Essentially it is to spurt growth and to build a very self reliant India and that is why this entire initiative is called Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (ABM). This will decide the prospect of ‘New India’ which is quite visionary, prudent and historical.
Despite the same, India’s vibrant hand-loom and handicraft sector, ‘handmade products’ will support India to be a self-reliant country. Here, we need to focus on local manufacturers and service providers – Make in India Products, and stop using ‘outsider products’. More we become self-reliant; more we will become powerful in the globe. Indian Economy and development will be further strengthened, living standards or life style will improve, reduced unemployment and most relevant, we will focus more on research and development at large.
Author: Trilok Singh, Currently Studies Masters in Mass Communication & Journalism at International School of Media and Entertainment Studies, News 24 Campus. MA in Political Science, Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi. Currently, CEO at Youth Darpan Media, IASmind, & India’s Journal.