The time has come for Self-Reliant Bharat
Bharat was the epicenter for all kinds of knowledge, wisdom, discovering, arts, law & order, democracy, progress of science and use of sophisticated and indigenous technology in major categories of economic activities. — Dr. S. Lingamurthy
Bharat was the epicenter for all kinds of knowledge, wisdom, discoveries, arts, law & order, democracy, progress of science and use of sophisticated and indigenous technology in major categories of economic activities such as handloom, agriculture, food storage, health and in all other walks of day-to-day life of human wellbeing without having market or government/kingdom interference and influence over ordinary life of people since the ages and we have been significant footprints of themacross the world, where all the people of the universe have accepted our ideas &practices with conviction and utmost trust. The universal acceptance had become possible through our ancestors, rishis, guru’s regular scientific vigor and enabling them to transfer from one generation to another. Bharat established the modern civilization much before the birth of modern developed countries and prevailed truth in various facets and viewed the world as one family “Vasudaiva Kutumbakam” instead of one market. With this manner, our ancestors touched the hearts of people from all corners of the globe, ordinary people and traders from Bharat travelled one country to another to nurture civilization, environment and livelihoods through soft-power such as spirituality, yoga and Ayurveda; and also trade.
As per Angus Maddison book “Contours of the World Economy, 1-2030 AD”, published by Oxford University Press in 2007, Bharat was sharing the highest world trade with about 32% during the year of 1700 by having 1/4th share of the world manufacturing which was supported by joint-family system business ventures. Maddison also explained the stagnation and declination of our share in global trade and manufacturing over the period of time during Mughals & British Colonial Era. During British period our economy deindustrialized subsequently our people were discouraged agriculture activities and ruined our own family based cottage industries and technological practices. As a result of British policies, we lost our economy, science & technology, manufacturing and innovations. Even after independence of the country we could not change our development paradigm due to colonial hangover of our self-intellectuals, leaders and policy makers led to centralized policies in the name socialism for four decades and afterwards in the name of capitalism. Therefore, the country is not taking over the problems of social evils, unemployment, agricultural crisis and manufacture sector distress and eventually of exports.
There are various incidents happened due to capitalism and consumerism throughout the world. Particularly, the European countries have experienced their own taste of capitalism when Global Financial Crisis happened during 2008-09. Subsequently, Britain had quit the Euro-Union, US started batting for economic nationalism through policies of “Be-American, Buy-American and Hire-American” by Donald Trump Government. During subsequent course of these incidents, China became the major hub of global manufacturing and became the source of global supply chain for most of the products. COVID-19 has proved that the centralized policies in the name of socialism and capitalism won’t serve the societal needs and sustainable environment and economic development. China shown the evil of centralized system when global supply chain disrupted due to Pandemic COVID-19. The concept of free trade has been evidenced as ‘un-fair trade’ for developing countries such as Bharat and other South-Asian and African countries of course for developed countries too. After realizing this fact, the Government of India has tuned-up with the argument of Swadeshi Jagaran Manch by saying ‘Vocal for local’ and announced the stimulus package of 20 lakh Crore which was equaling to 10 percent of Country’s GDP announced by Shri. Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Prime Minister under “Atmanirbhar Bharat” to protect agriculture, small-scale industry, service activities, migrant workers and to facilitate day to day ration and living expenditures of needy people during lockdown. It shows that the existing system of developmental models of which we are practicing since 1947 even before are not sustainable for the wellbeing of people and nature. And also the policies which we have adopted are not encouraged the people to become self-reliant in their respective professions and economic activities, instead those policies made all people depend on market and the Government desperately which is contradictory to the basic of idea of Bharat.
Bharat was self-reliant in all walks of day-to-day life through decentralized, participation oriented, people centric policies where agriculture, small-scale and cottage industry, environment and public health had been utmost importance by decision makers of that time. Now, time has come for Bharat to practice those things and we have huge potentiality to rise in the world in-terms of economy, technology and exports with given chances in policy making and access to the resources by the people. All States and Central Government have to create the suitable environment to the producers and manufacturers to compete with global giants with their products, if required concerned departments and government authorities have to facilitate and organize them for import substitution to serve the nation with best quality of product and service.
We have mere share of total geographical area with 2.4 percent for 17.7 percent population of the world. But, ours is the second largest cultivable land of the world which is much bigger than China’s agriculture land though we occupy 34 percent of total land to China’s total geographical area. We have bestowed with about15 variety of Agri.-climatic zones, plentiful rainfall, diversified cultivable lands for three crops in a year. Production of rice, wheat, maize, cotton, sugarcane and agricultural allied activities such dairy, poultry, fishery have registered in top 5 rankings of the globe. But, our exports from agriculture sector stood at 15th rank in the in the world, it is very unfortunate that the country with bestowed fertile land mighty rivers is far away in global exports is because of our adverse policies. Our farmers unable to capitalize their produce in globalized market, they need be supported, technology, input and subsidies to make them self-reliant. We need to revive agricultural policies towards holistic and integrative which considers all the systems and processes of agriculture of “Farm to Plate” and it should start with up-lifting the last person of the que (Antyodaya) in agriculture sector in terms of reasonable access to credit, electricity, water, inputs, market and appropriate technology to make every farmer self-reliant.
Like-wise, we need to make pro-industrial policies with due respect to environment for micro, small and medium scale enterprises where they can be self-reliant from regulatory mechanism, investment, branding, accessing market, technology etc. We have SME and artisanal clusters in all the districts of the country. We need to address their problems and bring them up to bridge regional imbalances of inter-state and intra-state, to generate the employment opportunities at the local level and to curtail the migration problems in search of livelihoods from rural to urban and also to make value-addition to agricultural produce by the farmers by making them into associations, cooperatives i.e., farmer producing organizations (FPOs) to manufacture and render services of local products based on agricultural output. If the agriculture and small-scale entrepreneurship activities are become self-reliant, most of the problems of our county would be disappeared owing to high-labor intensity of these sectors.
In view of industrial development appropriate technology to be adopted where employment opportunities increase, agriculture and industrial stakeholders must be free from all kinds of Bureaucratic and market clutches with complete information and also there should be system where any single person cannot violate and disturb the given rules and regulations for shared wellbeing of the society. Our technological progress must be risen with due respectful R&D activities for the development of economy in the interest of public welfare and the national prosperity.
Bharat should be mapped according to the nature of climatic zones, agriculture crops and industrial clusters, based on these mappings we need to make clusters of different products and services based on the availability of resources and skillful manpower and technology. At least there should be a specific product cluster in each and every district of the country where it can compete in the global market with local resources by providing employment and self-employment opportunities for young minds. Further, agriculture and industrial sector must be connected with concerned educational institutions where the students and teachers should experience the dignity of labor and render their services in respective activities to get trained practically and improved skills.
Consumers also equally important in the economy and shared prosperity of the nation. Therefore, it is the responsibility of all stakeholders of manufacturing and service sectors that there should not be any kind of exploitation in fixing the prices of MRP. Swadeshi Jagaran Manch stated at its inception that every manufacturer and service provider must reveal their cost of production on the package as like MRP of that particular commodity and service which are available in the market. There should be an equal opportunity for all consumers to choose the available services and commodities at competitive prices with given MRP and Cost of production in the market with due respect to cost of product or service.
Finally, through the above activities and economic and environment friendly decentralized policies poverty should be eradicated from its roots. Employment and self-employment opportunities must be created for every person as per the wish of people and entire country stood for swadeshi and practice of it for self-reliant Baharat for welfare and peace of the world because Bharat is the only country in the world which acts and prays for the entire humanity welfare and sustainability since the time immemorial with eternal values and practices.
The author is a Assistant Professor, Department of Economic Studies and Planning, Central University of Karnataka