The Lore of Self- Reliant India

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Since 2014, Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has been pompously inventing new mantras as recently he has declared to make India a Self- Reliant country after a standoff with China on Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh. In the current scenario when the pandemic of Coronavirus has exposed the federal government for its incompetence to handle the rising number of cases; its incapability to offer any financial support to the marginalized farmers, devastated migrants laborers and distraught entrepreneurs, this new mantra is seen as a panacea for all ills prevailing in Indian society and economy.

The movement he announced Self-Reliant India mantra, Whatsapp University paid researchers started sending messages on Whatsapp that from today onward we will not buy Chinese goods. Not only this, a BJP leader burnt Chinese toys in Mumbai( Maharashtra) to show China that we are not depended anymore on China since our beloved Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has declared to make India a Self-Reliant country. Thank God BJP leaders did not burn a highly expensive statue of Iron man, Bismark of India- Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel made with Chinese material. Many foreign companies left India to Indonesia, Vietnam and Bangladesh under the financial cult of China. It is important to note that only those Multinational Corporations are surviving in India in which PM Modi`s own leaders and workers have invested money or have business partnerships/ collaborations. Such MNCs are minting money in India and taking this money out of the country. PM and his leaders have no financial interest for Indian Small &Medium Sized Entrepreneurs because SMSE earns less and demands more.

Some Modi`s followers started flashing news on social media that a German company is coming to set –up a shoe factory in the city of Agra( Uttar Pradesh) and would cater to the shoe industry in India. It is, therefore, no need to import shoes from China. It clearly shows that there is no dearth of sheep-followers in India. The majority of Indians do not read newspapers hence they do not know what is happening behind the scene. The investment announced by Saudia Arabia`s state-owned oil giant Saudi ARAMCO suspended because it was opposed by Shiv Sena and BJP alliance. ARAMCO has shifted the ball into India`s court by saying that the Indian government is unable to locate land for the project. This news across the world stopped many multinational companies from coming to India and Mr. Modi could nothing.  Will Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi produce oil and petroleum products in India to make India a self-reliant country?

After Mr. Modi`s sermons on making Self- Reliant India, Swadeshi Jagran Manch(SJM), an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh(RSS) leave no chance to be in the news headlines that the Modi Government should initiate a pan-India Swadeshi Swavlamban Abhiyan( Self- reliance campaign) to promote local production. Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister for Science and Technology, Government of India, claims that India’s production of mobile phones has gone up to approximately 33 crores ( 33 Million) in 2019-20. The litany is that Minister himself does not know exact figure of mobile phones being produced in India without the help of Chinese Smartphone companies. Xiaomi. Oppo, Realm, Oneplus,Vivo, iQOO, Huawei, Lenovo, Motorola, Tecno, Infinix are the Chinese Smartphone companies in India producing Smartphones. Vivo has a huge facility in greater Noida to assemble (MAKE) smartphones in India. Does Mr. Modi and His Union Ministers and those who are burning Chinese toys in Mumbai have the guts to close these Chinese companies in India?

In the last few days, Indian manufacturers have turned into Indian traders because of the complex tax systems, corruption, and license raj. For example, businessmen who were manufacturing Thermometer in India have stopped manufacturing due to the non-availability of raw material. Thermometer is still being imported from China. Another case in point is the Sports industry in India. Most of the Sports manufacturing units in Jalandhar (Punjab) are shut now. Owners prefer to import all types of Sports items from China. When asked why have they shut their manufacturing units, they responded, “It is not worth after the announcement of Goods and Services Tax (GST)”. Similarly, Furniture manufacturers in India has closed its factories barring a few after the GST. Another case in point, Kirit Nagar( New Delhi) a famous furniture market where one can see showrooms full of Chinese furniture. One of my friends has been selling Chinese furniture, told me that, “It is not financially viable after GST to manufacture furniture in India”. He further told that “Most of the owners of the showroom import furniture from China.”  “We hire labor only to assemble and repair the Chinese furniture”, he said. These are a few examples cited here to highlight the ground realities. Does Mr. Modi and his so-called anti-China leaders have the guts to shut all these Kirti Nagar showrooms that are selling Chinese furniture?

After the announcement of Self- Reliant India, Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi signed an agreement with Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison. PM wants Australia to supply India with seven of the 12 critical minerals key to future industries, including antimony, cobalt, lithium, and rare earth elements. Before stand-off with China, India was importing most of the raw material from China. The nation wants to know what is the difference between Australia and China? Why Mr. Modi is embracing Australia under the pressure of US President Donald Trump and antagonizing China. Indian Diaspora is an important factor in the comprehensive strategic partnership between India- Australia. Mr.Modi should speak to his counterpart about Indians who are facing racial discrimination in Australia. When Ms. Sushma Swaraj was a Foreign Minister of India, many Indians were killed by racists Australians (mostly Punjabis) but she could nothing except issuing empty statements while sitting in Air-conditioned rooms in New Delhi.

Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi is not aware of the historical background of US and Britain. Edward Gough Whitlam, 21st Prime Minister of Australia (1972-1975) moved Australia towards the Non-Aligned Movement(NAM) and called for a Zone of Peace in the Indian ocean, which the US and Britain opposed. It is unfortunate that a qualified person like Dr. Subrahmanyam Jai Shankar, current Minister of External Affairs, and Government of India who has the brain and knowledge of international affairs but unable to exercise his wisdom; has been made a dignified desk clerk by Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi. The same attitude was displayed by Modi towards Ms. Sushma Swaraj(2014-2019.  It is the Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi who want to run all Indian Ministries under his thump. It is one of the reasons that the foreign policy of India has been failed. Nepal is a recent example.

Self- Reliant India under Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi imports petroleum products from different countries. India imports gas from Qatar, Russia, Australia, and the US despite India`s capacity to produce. A report published in Live mint by Kalpana Pathak shows that “Indian refineries are not running at full capacity, so we decided to divert crude and instead fill up our crude caverns. Lack of storage capacity is an opportunity lost for the country.  “We could have taken full advantage of these historically low crude oil prices.” This is how Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi will make India a Self-Reliant country when he and his team lack advance planning.  Revenue loss is an economic burden on the taxpayer.

Under US President Donald Trump Mr. Modi stopped importing oil from Iran despite US imposed crippling sanctions on India. India needs electricity grids. From 2014 to 2019, how many electric grids in Self-Reliant India Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi and his team built to cater to the needs of the burgeoning population (now 1.35 billion) is still unknown. According to Brooking India report on Electricity, “most states in India have a large deficit in electricity supply”.

Economists and trade experts believe that China has entered into the blood of Indian traders. China is sugar for Indian traders that is needed to maintain blood glucose. The moment this sugar is taken out of the body of the Indian traders, they will collapse. In the crippling Indian economy, Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has no money to boost up small or medium scale industries. Self-Reliant mantra is sinister hogwash. Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi is plaguing the domestic & foreign policy with Utopianism, sentimentalism & isolation flaws which are highly dangerous for the country. Citizens of India have to think about our nation that is made weaker, sicker, poorer, and more divided by PM Modi.

Dr. Rahul Kumar is an independent researcher and senior media columnist. His research & writing interest extends to macro social, economic, political & international affairs. The views expressed by the author in this article are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the paper.




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