Atmanirbhar Bharat, which translates to ‘self-reliant India’ or ‘self-sufficient India’, is a term used by the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi in relation to economic development in country. The term has been used in relation to making India “a bigger and more important part of the global economy”, pursuing policies that are efficient, competitive and resilient, and being self-sustaining and self-generating. Atmanirbhar Bharat does not mean “self-containment”, “isolating away from the world” or being “protectionist”. The first mention of this came in the form of the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ or ‘Self-Reliant India Mission’ during the announcement of India’s COVID–19 pandemic related economic package on 12 May 2020. Subsequently, two more Atmanirbhar Bharat packages were announced on 12 October and 12 November 2020, bringing the total economic stimulus to ₹29.87 lakh crore (US$420 billion).
Three Atmanirbhar Bharat packages
A total of three Atmanirbhar Bharat packages worth ₹29.87 lakh crore (US$420 billion) were announced by the government:
- On 12 May 2020, the Prime Minister announced an overall economic package worth ₹20 lakh crore (US$280 billion).
- On 12 October 2020, the government announced a ₹73,000 crore (US$10 billion) worth economic stimulus package, labelled as Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan 2.0.
- On 12 November 2020, the government announced a ₹2.65 lakh crore (US$37 billion) worth economic stimulus package, labelled as Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan 3.0.
As part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat package, numerous government decisions have taken place such as changing the definition of MSMEs, boosting scope for private participation in numerous sectors, increasing FDI in the defence sector; and the vision has found support in many sectors such as the solar manufacturers sector.
Examples of initiatives towards self-reliance:
- The growth of India’s personal protective equipment (PPE) sector from zero before March, to 4,50,000 pieces a day by the beginning of July, is considered as a fine example of a self-reliant India. The PPE industry in India has become a ₹10,000 crore (US$1.4 billion) in three months, the second largest after China.
- The largest fund in the country worth ₹21,000 crore (US$2.9 billion) was setup by the IIT Alumni Council with the aim of supporting the mission towards self-reliance.
- India’s own ‘Made in India’ 5G network was announced in July 2020 by Reliance Jio. Mukesh Ambani announced in mid-July “Jio has created a complete 5G solution from scratch, that will enable us to launch a world-class 5G service in India, using 100 per cent homegrown technologies and solutions”. In September 2020, Tech Mahindra announced that they have “the capability to build and run an entire 4G or 5G network in India […] We have done that already.”
- In August 2020, the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced that the Defence Ministry is “now ready for a big push to Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative” by imposing an “import embargo on 101 items” in a staged manner over a period of 5 years. The Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy (DPEPP 2020) and Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020 (DAP) also aims towards self reliance.
- Minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers, D V Sadananda Gowda , in September 2020, said that “India will be self-reliant in fertiliser production by 2023”.
- Coir Udyami Yojana aims to develop the coir-related industry’s sustainable development.
- Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (STIP), 2020 outlines strategies for strengthening India’s STI ecosystem to achieve the goal of Atmanirbhar Bharat through technology self-reliance and indigenization.
Vocal for local
Not only should products be ‘made in India’, but the promotion of those products should take place so as to make those products competitive. During the Independence Day speech in 2020, Prime Minister Modi said that “The mindset of free India should be ‘vocal for local’. We should appreciate our local products, if we don’t do this then our products will not get the opportunity to do better and will not get encouraged.” Amul Managing Director RS Sodhi explained that the phrase vocal–for–local “meant that products be made competitive vis-a-vis global brands” and that “it didn’t mean that one must only buy products that have a logo ‘made in India’ on it.” An extension of this slogan is ‘local for global’, that local products in India should have global appeal and reach.
The PM recalled the response of people when he had given a call for them to buy khadi to support the handloom workers. He said that people responded well judging by the record level of sales achieved by khadi and handloom products in a very short period of time. He felt that the support Indians gave for the local products created big brand out of khadi.
The PM said that his reverence for every Indian who has responded to the call for going local has increased and he is confident that Indians will proudly buy local products and promote them to the global community. He said that he has full confidence that all Indians will do their small part in making India products a household name all across the world.
The PM rightly feels that if Indians adopt the ‘local ke liye vocal’ mantra then many Indian products can become truly global. So, let’s do our part in buying and promoting local products and make India self-reliant.