Viewpoint: Atmanirbhar Bharat

25 MAY,2020 | MEDC


 

In a recent address to the nation, the Prime Minister has emphasized the need for building local to go global and being vocal about local. He has also clarified that a self-reliant India (Atmanirbhar Bharat) would not be self-absorbed, but would rather integrate itself with the global economy. All this is welcome, but, given the current scenario, if we are to step into China’s shoes, simply announcing reforms is not enough. We also have to ensure that we have the bandwidth to implement them in a thorough and effective manner. Competing with the industrious efficiency of Chinese manufacturing is not easy, especially given the current state of our infrastructure, but we need to strike while the iron is still hot. The way things are going, the lockdown is not likely to be lifted anytime soon, but that does not mean that the economy can continue to hibernate indefinitely. We need to have the confidence that the skill of our policymakers coupled with the entrepreneurial ability of our people will help us rebuild our system.Covid-19 has given the world ammunition to demonize China and disparage globalization. For sure, China has benefited the most from globalization, and India needs to thoroughly examine what aspects of it they got right. China’s economic success was built primarily on its highly efficient supply chain model, which relentlessly promoted cheap exports and provided a steady stream of industrial components to thousands of businesses globally. China made itself indispensable to global manufacturing, and that is precisely what India has to now aim for. China also embraced the possibility of an open market system early on because they saw that the outcome could financially empower their own citizens – who form a world in themselves. India needs to adopt a similar economic philosophy. We have a huge (and growing) internal market and a far better demographic profile than that of China … the need of the hour is to change our mind-sets more than anything else.While being vocal about local matters, globalization should not be viewed as a necessary evil. Certainly, globalization has its drawbacks, but we should not confuse self-reliance (or shunning over-reliance on China) with going mindlessly local. The fact is that it takes time to scale up economic abilities, even if a crisis like this is viewed as an opportunity. India today needs a wide range of global expertise just as much as any other country in the world. It makes sense to be vocal about local, but that can only be accomplished as a parallel strategy and as a long-term socioeconomic goal, and certainly not by being blissfully unaware of all that is happening around us. This is actually the time to reconnect with the world like never before, while simultaneously strengthening all of our innate advantages and inner resources.

*Photo Credit: Google

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