Aatmanirbhar Bharat : A Successful Movement
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a package of Rs. 20.95 lakh crores as part of Aatmanirbhar Bahrat Abhiyan (Self Reliant India Movement) on May 12th, 2020 to fight against the economic menace of COVID-19. This package was of whooping size i.e., almost 10 percent of the Indian GDP. Prime Minister mentioned five important areas of this ambitious movement in his speech; and its broader interpretation may be understood in the following manner – (i) the economy should make efforts to achieve quantum jump instead of incremental growth through this movement, (ii) India should be prepared with the state of art infrastructure for giving a ready platform for speedy economic growth and development by Indian and foreign enterprises, (iii) Indian system should be technology driven based on Indian self-reliant IT infrastructure, (iv) since we have the highest population of youth in the world the Indian demographic dividend should be well mobilized; and at the same time vibrancy and variety of population should be utilized to the optimum level, and (v) the Demand and Supply in the economy should reach to its possible extreme level to boost the economy suffering from the negative impact of COVID-19 spread and lockdown of the economy.
India is a country full of expressions by the people on various platforms including print media, electronic media, social media and elsewhere. A group of people immediately started giving their considered opinion about failure of Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan launched by the Government of India. The basic motive of the Self-Reliant India Movement was to make India a self-reliant country and reduce the economic dependency on the rest of the world. As a matter of fact, India was not having PPE kit production facilities at the time of spread of corona virus; but India is exporting PPE kits to the rest of the world today. The main motive was to make India a congenial economic power on the world scenario where no country should have any suspicion over the intentions of the nation as was done by the China in the past. China started dumping its product in the rest of the world at cheaper prices forcing them to be dependent grossly upon Chine’s supply. There was a big stir in United State of America to spot importing goods and services from China; and a movement started there in the name of “Made in America”. Nevertheless, global trade and Multinational Corporations business will keep on going but not in the fashion it was going in pre-COVID-19 era. India has shown a path to developed, developing and third world countries that how to protect sovereignty of its own nation by avoiding Chinese economic aggression and being self-reliant as far as possible.
India to be Super Factory of the World
Post announcement of economic stimulus packages and Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, mobile giants like Samsung, Apple, Pegatron, Foxconn, and other have come together to invest about $ 1.5 billion in mobile manufacturing in the next five years. The Government estimates are quite high as it is expected that $ 153 billion production will take place in electronics sector only in the next three to five years. Besides, the Government of India is having ambitious and revolutionary investment projects in the energy sector which admeasures Rs. 111 lakh crores in the next five years. It is also worth mentioning that Fortune 500 companies are shifting from China to India after the announcement Self-Reliant India Movement. Almost 40% Chinese GDP was contributed by these MNCs which is soon going to be shifted in India. Indian progressive states such as Telangana, Gujarat, UP, MP, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and others have already amended their labour laws to accommodate MNCs requirements of workforce. The Central Government has done such kind of amendments prior to the state governments.
COVID – 19 Vaccine to the Rest of the World
It is India’s Self-Reliant Movement which has made it capable of producing COVID-19 vaccine on sucha large scale in no time that it is supplying the vaccine to the rest of the world along with satiating its own requirements. India has sent consignments of anti-coronavirus vaccine doses as gifts to countries such as Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan, the Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Bahrain, Oman, Afghanistan, Barbados and Dominica, Pakistan and many other countries. As per the press briefing of the Ministry of External Affairs by the end of February 2021, around 361.94 lakh doses of anti-Covid vials have so far been sent to various countries from India; and 67.5 lakh doses of the total vaccines have been supplied as grant assistance, 294.44 lakh on commercial basis. India is the only country in the world to manufacture anti-corona vaccine in such a large volume and faster speed.
Indian GDP to Grow Fastest
There are multiple agencies projecting Indian and other countries GDP growth in post COVID – 19 scenarios. While reading these estimates and forecast a common man generally gets confused. However, there is something to be concluded out of these projections; and that is for sure that Indian GDP is going to grow fasted in the coming years. Global Business Data Fundamentals has projected that Indian economy will grow at 9.7% far ahead of Chinese and other economies. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has stated that Indian economy will grow by 12.6% in the financial year 2022. No economy in the world has recovered has recovered out of the COVID-19 economic blues as India has done.
Stock Market Indices on A High
Just one day ahead of declaration of 21-day long lockdown of the economy by the Premier Narendra Modi, the Indian Stock market saw its lowest level on March 23, 2020. Sensex and Nifty logged their highest losses ever after rising number of coronavirus cases in India and the resultant lockdown in a majority of states took a heavy toll on the financial markets. While Sensex lost 3,934 points to 25,981, Nifty closed 1,135 points lower at 7,610. During the session, Sensex hit an intraday low of 25,880 and Nifty fell to 7,583. All Sensex and Nifty stocks closed in the red. The impact of Self-Reliant India Movement is evident on the stock market as the indices got more than double to its lowest level in March 2020. Sensex (52,516.76) and Nifty (15,431.75) touched its all-time high level on February 16, 2021. There is continuous flow of funds from Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) and Domestic Institutional Investors (DIIs) in the stock market. The Central Government is keen to take economic reforms measures. The Government is in intensified mode to curtail the Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) of Public Sector Banks by way of merging them into effective group of banks. On the other hand, the Central Government is effortful to sell out considerable states of Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs). A composite and strong effort to streamline economy has boosted Indian stock market to an unprecedented high.
Lowest Rate of Unemployment
The statistics of Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy reveals that India’s rate of unemployment is at the lowest level in the last 12 months. Let us examine the following table of unemployment for our better understanding of the impact of Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan on the employment side.
The Prime Minister announced Self-Reliant India Movement in the month of May 2020 and the unemployment rate was 21.73% by then. The impact was so positive on the employment side that this ratio started decreasing steeply; and it is only 6.9% at present which is even lesser than the pre-COVID – 19 times. The latest World Bank Unemployment data shows that there are many important economies facing severe unemployment challenges. There are economies running under the crisis of about 25% unemployment ratio. Hence, there is no doubt about it that the Self-Reliant Movement had done marvelous work on the front of employment scenario in India.
Unprecedented FDI Inflow
The Self – Reliant India Movement has thrown such a positive signal to the developed countries and Trans National Corporations that there is a continuous influx of investment proposals from giant entities overseas. A survey conducted by the EY India and CII reveals that India is among top three destinations of investment in the world.
This survey was carried out by the professionals on top executives of MNCs and leading business houses. Results are quite favourable to India. India is favored by 34% respondents whereas only 10% are in favour of China. COVID-19 has revealed the actual face of China to the entire world and that has led to a rethinking process by business enterprises to relocate from China to India. India received around $30 billion worth of funds through foreign direct investment during the first half of FY21, which was a 15 percent growth over same period last year, while the FDI inflow in January-September period of CY20 was around $43.5 billion, which is a strong number compared to previous periods.
Revival of Aviation and Hospitality Sector
International flights were resumed on May 7th but under a special arrangement known as Vande Bharat Mission Flights. These flights were essentially semi charter flights run by Air India only to bring back Indian nationals stranded in some countries abroad. By October there were sixteen countries to which India was operating. But Government of India has undergone Air Bubble understanding with countries like Australia, USA, UK and other which is giving boost to the international aviation industry. At the same time, domestic air traffic is almost back to the normal with dedicated efforts by the concerned ministry. Hospitality sector is also getting back to the normal as they have started almost at 70% of their capacity.
India has proven its dominance in terms of reviving its economy on its own strengths. Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan has given a self confidence to both public and private sector to restore normalcy in operations. Indeed Self-Reliant India Movement was badly needed and the Indian Premier floated it with a broader vision to benefit the economy on a faster pace.
(The writer is a Professor at Saurashtra University, Gujarat)