Ranbir Singh Pathania
More the economy of India has plummeted in the last few weeks the more murkier has become the political discourse thereupon.
Misery brings out best of the man. But this is not the case here. We are still far-off from nurturing a political culture to ‘stand united’ over issues concerning national interest.
World economies have gone into worst-ever recession due to the ‘Corona pandemic.’ Indian economy which was worth 2.9 trillion $ has also gone into an unprecedented tailspin. Finance Minister of India calls it as an ‘Act of The God.’
As the maxim goes, “Great evils call for stronger remedies.” It is in this very backdrop that the clarion calls of Narendra Modi – ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and ‘vocal for local’ -gleam like a radiant light at the end of the tunnel. Although corona pandemic has fluttered the world economic order. It is propounded that a new world order shall emerge once this pandemic is over. India is also ready to take off on a lofty trajectory on the international economic horizon.
And it would be filled-fit to attribute as if Mr. Modi has almost donned the mantle of pre-independence Mahatama Gandhi wading across the criss-cross of this vast diverse country – canvassing for a ‘Neo swadeshi’ movement. Out of there cardinal Gandhian Principles, ‘Sarvodaya’ ‘Swachhta’ and ‘Swadeshi’, this is now the turn of third one to be actualized on ground.
At the same time, wishful target of building a 5 trillion $ strong economy by 2024 is another challenge and to build brick by brick a strong, self reliant, self sustaining India. The challenge is not only for the most happening and phenomenal Prime Minister or a handful of his party colleagues and civil servants. This is a challenge and rather a battle-cry for each and every citizen of India. Rather it needs to be transformed into a resurging public movement. And all the major political parties, intellectuals and stakeholders, irrespective of their contradictory viewpoints, try to create a shining, emulable role model for the world.
While on one side, India has been the largest producer of ‘raw materials’, and on the other side we biggest importer of ‘finished goods’.
That is why, perhaps, I have been always saying that the concept of Atamnirbhar Bharat propelled forward by an unprecedented economic stimulus package of 20 lakh crores is the biggest ever transitional shift in the Indian economy as yet. Because it principally focuses at creating a capacity and propensity in our economic system from ‘producing raw materials’ to that of ‘producing and exporting finished products’.
The economic stimulus package has given main thrust towards resuscitating MSMEs with ‘Emerging credit line’, doing away with collateral security/guarantees, lessening the red tape.
The District Industry Centers, Khadi Village Industry Boards, J & K EDI (in J & K) have been put on the task of covering industries like agro and food processing, hand-made papers, textiles, manufacturing units and subsidy upto the tune of 25% and 35 %.
Kisaan Pakhwadas have been unrolled for 100% coverage of PM Kissan beneficiaries.
Minimum wage has been hiked from rupees 182 to rupees 202.
Our, less-priced and more qualitative, indigenous Corona Test kits, PPE kits, ventilators and aggressive vaccine efforts have given wings to our innovation and self-confidence.
It is in addition to it that entire economic policy needs to be re-strategized and reprioritized. And, as said, it is a commandment not for the Govt or BJP. India as a nation needs to arise and stand up. A nation is ultimately known by the character and commitment its citizens nurture.
Unemployment has done biggest damage to India during the lockdown period. We need to be more than desperate to create more job opportunities. More so we need to focus on skill based education. Focus should be on skilled labour rather than cheap labor.
Although agriculture sector has somehow saved the skin but the condition in other sectors is really dismay. Carrying through of historic Farm Bills through the Parliament which tend to remove the role of a ‘middleman’ is also a milestone in the direction of making agriculture sector in India as ‘Atmanirbhar’
We need to put our heads together and aggressively locate potential drivers of growth. They can be integrated multi sector infrastructure projects, improved healthcare, strengthening of rural infrastructure, digital reforms, labour reforms, and centre-state alignment of policy changes and sectoral reforms.
Another focus should be disinvestment and simplification of GST and labor laws. The govt and the people of India need to resolve to importing less and exporting much. We need to meticulously go for ‘Made in India’ products.
It is in the midst of all that we need to strive and stand up, more cohesively and collectively, to build up a new India which is ‘atmanirbhar’ and ‘swadeshi’ in content as well as color.
Let us unfold ‘Jan Andolan’ for making India a ‘Vishavguru‘ just now. Let everybody resolve and strive relentlessly in its pursuit.
Let me quote Winston Churchill in the aftermath of World War II, ‘Never let a good crisis go waste”
(The columnist practices law at the J & K, High Court of Judicature, and had been member of 11th J & K Legislative Assembly)
Ranbir Singh Pathania