At a time when the world is suffering from a deadly pandemic, India plans to convert this crisis into an opportunity and strengthen its fight by becoming Aatmanirbhar or self-reliant. The term was coined by the Prime Minister of India, Mr Narendra Modi during his address to the nation on May 12, 2020. He called this campaign as Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan (Self- Reliant India Movement).
The word self-reliant is not new as it has become more popular and is on every Indian’s tongue. Recently it is reintroduced by our Honourable PM addressing the nation on the pandemic. It is not going to be so easy as it seems, to be Self-Reliant. We will have to strengthen the roots in order to achieve it.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a special problem that has to do with the relationship between the self and the society. The social pre-COVID was a field which catered to individual interests—from security, health, infrastructure and travel to shopping. What the pandemic really destroyed was our access to the social world, a world in which others performed their work on behalf of others. Labour itself was oriented around this act of distributing the tasks that one had to do for oneself. Restaurants took care of the individual’s need for cooking one’s own food, schools took care of the children (at least for a major part of the day), hospitals took control of health (much of which could have been in the hands of individuals themselves) and so on. Pre-COVID we were a society that increasingly developed a sense of the social defined through dependency. Given the underlying issues and opportunities, it is vital to become competitive in pursuance of self reliance.
In mid-May, the PM had given a call for self-reliance while announcing the phasing out of the coronavirus-induced lockdown and amid border tension with China, which has intensified since then, promoting the government to impose curbs on Chinese imports, investments and mobile applications. India is heavily dependant on China for mobile phones, electronic goods, pharmaceuticals. Resulting in a massive trade deficit. The PM banned 60 Chinese apps from the App store and Play store. Some of them included TikTok, CamScanner and Shein. The Government also launches the “Make In India” campaign which focused on boosting domestic production and increasing the share of manufacturing sector in the economy.
Though Indian Prime Minister clarified that the current idea of self-reliance is not about a return to import substitution or autarkic isolationism, rather aimed at a quantum jump to the economic potential of the country by strengthening infrastructure, using modern technologies, enriching human resources, and creating a variety of supply chains.
Aatmanirbhar campaign focuses on:
ensuring health and wellbeing for all, achieving sustainable development with concerns of environment rooted in all initiatives, optimizing resource mobilization and develop quality indicators to map interventions, strengthening the efforts to bridge all forms of inequalities including social and economic divide for enabling each and every individual to enjoy the fruits of progress, evolving multifarious approaches to address natural and human calamities with our own strength and reservoir of resources, develop scientific and technical knowledge for innovating strategies to overcome barriers to development.
PM Modi’s five pillars of making India self-reliant
Economy: We have to bring an economy that doesn’t bring incremental change but quantum jump.
Infrastructure: We need an infrastructure which can become the identity of modern India.
System: A system that doesn’t follow norms of the previous century. It should be able to fulfil our 21st century dreams and be technology driven.
Vibrant Democracy: It is our strength, it is the source of energy for our dream to make India self-reliant.
Demand: The demand-supply chain is our power, we should use it to its full potential.
The COVID-triggered economic crisis should lead us to create a development model that leads to opportunities for the people at the bottom of the pyramid. A competitive and open economy can ensure Atmanirbhar Bharat.