Vocal For Local!

COVID-19 has brought many countries to an unexpected fork in their development trajectories. It has made visible new facts, figures and the feelings of citizens towards these facts and figures. India is working hard to convert the world crisis into an opportunity to create a self-reliance India.

PM Narendra Modi, in his national address, said that the Covid-19 crisis has taught India the importance of local manufacturing and supply chains. “It is time to be vocal about local,” he said. He announced the concept of an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ that serves as a massive stimulus package as well as a move towards making India more self-reliant in the post-COVID world. The stimulus is argued to strengthen India’s cottage and home industries, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and other industries. He talked about the importance of ‘Atma-nirbharta’ (self-reliance) and announced a Rs 20 lakh crore package. Other measures on the table are tax sops, strict non-tariff barriers to discourage imports and domestic goods procurement.

On June 11, while addressing the nation, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said “We have to take Indian economy out of ‘command and control’ and take it towards ‘plug and play’. This isn’t the time for a conservative approach. It’s time for bold decisions and bold investments.”

 With the further need of import-substitution, the exigency for establishing ‘AtmaNirbhar Bharat’ was released by the Indian authorities. They coined a new slogan for it- “Vocal for Local”, which means to not only buy local products but be vocal about promoting them proudly. He wants Indians to make local the mantra of their lives. Believe in Made-in-India and put your buying power into products and services that are made locally. Although, the Atmanirbhar Bharat (self- reliance India) was already a part of the Centre’s policy the recent outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic just gave the needed push to the cause.

 Cut to 5 years back, our social media and news channels were filled with the talks about the government’s Make in India campaign. In this campaign, many foreign investments were invited, but now with the modified version of the campaign (Atmanirbhar Bharat- self-reliance India), these foreign companies or MNC’s are losing their business. These companies gave job opportunity to many people and with this grappling situation, those jobs also seem to be on the stake. As the ‘Made In India’ movement gets revived in a new avatar, it is time to understand the many dimensions that will make it either run, hobble or stop altogether.

 While we all praise the decision of the government to promote local production, the question remains: are we, Indians, ready to neglect the imports completely? Are we even ready to handle the rate of unemployment it follows? Indian PM Narendra Modi said to be vocal for local but to what extent? Do they have to be vocal about the poor quality product as well? Shouldn’t it ‘Be Vocal for right Local’ instead? The topic remains debatable even today.

By Karishma Gwalani


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