Self Reliance: Modi’s Revival Plan for India
Arvind Gupta, Director, VIF

In his address to the nation on 12 May 2020, Prime Minister Modi announced a ₹ 20,00,000 crore plan and a bold reform plan aimed at rebuilding and reviving India in the 21st century.

Modi’s visionary speech was notable for laying down a framework for building a self-reliant India, which would be competitive globally.

He spent a significant portion of his speech highlighting the need for strengthening local manufacturing, building local supply chains and converting local products into global brands.

With the announcement of the Special Economic Package, Modi launched a new campaign for building a self-reliant India, Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.

The details of the 20,00,000 crore package will be announced by the Finance Minister shortly. It will have the following elements:

  • Deeper reforms including reform of land, labour, and laws.
  • Strengthening of the entire supply chain related to farming.
  • Rationalisation of the tax system, simple, clear and good laws;
  • Good infrastructure;
  • Capable and competent human resources;
  • Strong financial system;
  • Strengthening the make in India program;
  • Incentivise to attract investments.

Explaining the logic behind self-reliance, he quoted from the Scriptures, Sarvam Armvasham Sukham. 'सर्वम्आत्मवशंसुखम्' i.e. what is in our control, is happiness, he said.

Here are some highlights from his speech,

Making the 21st Century as India’s century is a responsibility

“…it seems that the 21st century is the century for India. This is not our dream, rather a responsibility for all of us.”

Self-reliance is the only way out for India

“The state of the world today teaches us that a (Atmanirbhar Bharat i.e. "Self-reliant India" is the only path. It is said in our scriptures –Eshah Panthah, That is - self-sufficient India.”

Self-reliance will make globalisation human-centric

“Today the meaning of the word self-reliance has changed in the global scenario. The debate on Human-Centric Globalization versus Economy Centralized Globalization is on. India's fundamental thinking provides a ray of hope to the world. The culture and tradition of India speak of self-reliance and the soul is Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.

Self-reliance does not mean cutting India off from the world

“India does not advocate self-centric arrangements when it comes to self-reliance. India's self-reliance is ingrained in the happiness, cooperation and peace of the world.”

India believes in the welfare of the world

This is the culture which believes in the welfare of the world, for all the living creatures and the one which considers the whole world as a family. Its premise is 'माता भूमि: पुत्रो अहं पृथिव्या' - the culture that considers the earth to be the mother.

Indian progress is linked with the world

“And when the Bharat Bhumi, becomes self-sufficient, it ensures the possibility of a prosperous world. India's progress has always been integral to the progress of the world.”

A reliant India will make the best products

“We will make the best products, will improve our quality further, make the supply chain more modern, we can do this and we will definitely do it.”

Self-reliance stands on five pillars

“First Pillar is Economy, an economy that brings Quantum Jump rather than Incremental change.

Second Pillar is Infrastructure, an infrastructure that became the identity of modern India.

Third Pillar is Our System, a system that is driven by technology which can fulfill the dreams of the 21st century; a system not based on the policy of the past century.

Fourth Pillar is Our Demography, our Vibrant Demography is our strength in the world's largest democracy, our source of energy for self-reliant India.

The Fifth Pillar is Demand, the cycle of demand and supply chain in our economy, is the strength that needs to be harnessed to its full potential. In order to increase demand in the country and to meet this demand, every stake-holder in our supply chain needs to be empowered. We will strengthen our supply chain, our supply system built up with the smell of the soil and the sweat of our labourers.”

Special Economic Package will launch self-reliant India

  • “This economic package will serve as an important link in the 'Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan” (Self Reliant India Campaign)'.
  • “This package is about 10 percent of India's GDP. With this various sections of the country and those linked to economic system will get support and strength of 20 lakh crore rupees.”
  • “This package will give a new impetus to …the Self-reliant India campaign… Land, Labour, Liquidity and Laws all have been emphasized in this package.”
  • “…it is now imperative for the country to move forward with the commitment of Bold Reforms to create a self-reliant India…Now the scope of the reforms has to be broadened.”
  • These reforms will be in the entire supply chain related to farming, … These reforms will be for, rational tax system, simple and clear rules-of-law, good infrastructure, capable and competent human resources, and building strong financial system. These reforms will encourage business, attract investment and strengthen our resolve for Make in India.”
  • “This will increase the efficiency of all our sectors and also ensure quality.”

Vocal for Local; the Importance of local manufacturing;

  • “Local is not just the need, it is our responsibility also. Time has taught us that we must make the Local as a mantra of our life. The Global Brands you feel today were sometimes also very local like this. But when people started using them, started promoting them, branding them, proud of them, they became Global from Local Products. Therefore, from today every Indian has to become vocal for their local, not only to buy local products but also to promote them proudly.”

In announcing the Special Economic Package, the Prime Minister has gone far ahead of those who were demanding only a stimulus for the economy. He has laid down a framework for a new India, which will be local and global at the same time. The new mantra will be building a self-reliant India. Self-reliance leads to happiness, satisfaction and empowerment, Mr Modi pointed out.

Self-reliance had disappeared from Indian vocabulary in the last few decades. Mr Modi has lent it respectability and brought the concept back into our thinking.

Coronavirus has disrupted globalisation, exposed its fault lines and brought out clearly that India needs to build its internal strengths if it has to engage confidently with the world. That can come through only building self-reliance.

Swadeshi was a rallying point during the Indian freedom struggle. It mobilised Indians to fight the colonial masters. Self-reliance, in its new avatar, devoid of its political baggage, can help build India in the 21st century. We should have a fresh look the basics of the Gandhian model of self-reliance, which involved sustainable development, localised production using local skills and resources. These concepts must be re-examined in light of contemporary reality.

We cannot afford to miss the opportunity which the coronavirus crisis has presented India to rebuild itself as a strong, confident and engage India which works not only for its welfare but also the welfare of the world. It is our responsibility that Vasudhiava Kutumbakam becomes a pillar of our foreign policy and global engagement.

(The paper is the author’s individual scholastic articulation. The author certifies that the article/paper is original in content, unpublished and it has not been submitted for publication/web upload elsewhere, and that the facts and figures quoted are duly referenced, as needed, and are believed to be correct). (The paper does not necessarily represent the organisational stance... More >>

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