What is Atmanirbhar Bharat?
- Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan or the Self-reliant India campaign is the vision of new India. In the year 2020, the Prime Minister raised a clarion call to the nation giving a kick start to the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan (Self-reliant India campaign) and announced the Special economic and comprehensive package of INR 20 lakh crores – equivalent to 10% of India’s GDP.
- The aim is to make the country and its citizens independent and self-reliant in all senses. Five pillars of Atma Nirbhar Bharat – Economy, Infrastructure, System, Vibrant Demography, and Demand have been outlined.
- The Mission focuses on the importance of promoting “local” products.
- To strengthen the local and regional manufacturers and service providers.
- To improve the standard of living of citizens by focusing on the trade deficit and the balance of payment.
- To make the country and its citizens self-reliant in all the senses.
- To transform India into a global supply chain hub.
- To revive every sector of the economy with a rise in fiscal stimulus.
- To emphasize on self-reliance with a focus on land, labour, liquidity, reforms, and laws.
- To provide economic stimulus packages equivalent to 10% of the Indian GDP.
- To incentivize small businesses and farmers who faced losses from COVID-19 by providing them special incentives and funds.
- The first was the decision by China to pick a line from a map in imagined history and send 100,000 troops and more to alter the current political equation in the Himalayas. This was a whimsical and perverse exertion of power that resulted in a bloody clash and a continuing face-off between Indian and Chinese troops.
- Next, in August 2021, the United States (US), finalised an unethical and tragic arrangement with a band of terrorists and deserted Afghanistan overnight. Women’s rights, individual freedoms, and the “values” that were propagated while waging the so-called liberal war against terror were all discarded in favor of what was expedient.
- And now, Russian troops invaded a sovereign country to enforce a political writ driven solely by the desire to preserve Russia’s influence over geographies that increasingly disagree with the politics and propositions of Russia. While Russia’s fears of the purpose and method of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) expansion must not be discounted, the use of force and violation of a country’s sovereignty cannot be acceptable as an expression of disagreement.
- The invasion of Ukraine has put India in an unenviable position of choosing between what is right and what it believes is right for itself.
These three international events revitalized and put forth Atmanirbharata (self-reliance) at the center stage.
Parallels with the Swadeshi Movement and Need for Self-reliance
- The call for self-reliance can be compared with the Swadeshi movement and we can find that it is a relatable response to the evolving political and economic currents in a globalized world.
- If Swadeshi was the rejection of the colonial exploitation of India and criticism of the Western model of Capitalism-based economic growth, Atmanirbhar Bharat is an attempt to find India’s legitimate place in a rapidly changing world.
- Atmanirbhar Bharat like the Swadeshi movement is a program that is against the unrestricted import of Western thinking and economic models but is not averse to technology. It stands for modernization but without unbridled Westernisation.
- The clarion call ‘Vocal for local’ needs to be seen as a response to the anticipated changes in geopolitical order in the post-COVID world.
- The COVID crisis has shown the failings of multilateral and regional institutions and also the ineffectiveness of trade barriers and standalone economic models.
- Indian entrepreneurship must be freed from the shackles by adopting suitable governance models and reforming laws.
- The ‘new Swadeshi’ must transform local industries to connect the ever-changing global trade structure and lead to ‘glocalization’ that serves local and global markets.
- Some early signs of this development were seen during the COVID crisis where India’s position as the ‘pharmacy of the developing world’ was cemented. The importance of self-reliance was also seen in the self-sufficiency for food, especially cereals, the lack of which would have exasperated the current crisis.
Related Links: Swadeshi Movement