Freedom means so many things to different people. Be it in the form of financial Freedom or Freedom of speech, Freedom in absolute form is massively significant to each and every one of us. All the wars, battles, strategies were implemented for one particular thing that is independence. Independence is gloriously celebrated all across the world by different countries for a reason. The reason is that the Freedom received was by going through great difficulties and is worth celebrating. Take a minor little example, don’t we get mad at a parent when asked zillion questions about anything and everything?

WHY ECONOMIC INDEPENENCE IS A NECESSITY
Nevertheless, independence cannot be ever underestimated as it is a form of responsibility, the responsibility of self. With great power comes great responsibility and we can certainly say with great independence comes greater responsibility. Humans are free-spirited, and we are bound to always be on the go. We immediately begin to suffocate naturally if we find ourselves restricted to certain few things. We like to let our minds fly just like the beautiful birds let out of the cage after years of being held captive. Nobody can tame our true natural self. Freedom is beautiful but comes at a cost.
India’s most loved Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is always launching new product campaigns. Be it the Kisan Abhiyaan or Swaccha Bharat Abhiyaan, almost all crucial campaigns are undertaken by our Prime Minister. One such campaign is the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan (self-reliant India), which existed on 12th May 2020 during the first lockdown. It was also the time when the comprehensive package of INR 20 Lakh crore, which is almost equivalent to 10% of India’s GDP, was announced. This was a humongous step in the face of the battle with coronavirus. Prime minister Narendra Modi earlier considered the “Make in India” plan to boost domestic manufacturing ratios. Unfortunately, this plan wasn’t able to reach fruitful heights. The plan harbored an ambition to grow the share of manufacturing to 25% by 2020, which was initially 15% in 2014. This plan redundantly backfired, which raised the production costs for various companies. The economy was already quite slow, which in turn reduced domestic consumption too. Unbelievably, the manufacturing sector’s share remained stationary at about 15%.

manufacturing plant during daytime
Photo by Life Of Pix on Pexels.com

WHAT IS ARMANIRBHAR BHARAT ABHIYAAN
What is Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan (self-reliant India)? As the name itself suggests, it is an initiative to turn its precious citizens more and more independent and self-reliant as well as self-sufficient in all possible scenarios. Prime Minister Modi attached five strings to the woven piece of the self-reliance scheme. These five sectors are namely economy, infrastructure, system, vibrant demography, and demand. Furthermore, government reforms and enablers were announced by the finance minister across seven sectors. Numerous powerful reforms were implemented, including agricultural supply chain reforms, rational tax systems, simple and clear laws, capable human resources, and a strong financial system. Although this might seem like a perfect plan churned out in a utopian society, the reality is met with conflicting dynamics. All the economic and security goals are not easy to be achieved with the help of only one single campaign. The Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan throws a dart at molding India to be self-reliant, especially in the domains of trade and businesses. Unfortunately, it’s a slippery slope. According to a report, the policy aims to decrease the access of imports by the domestic market and open the economy and the export to the entire world out there. This can have a recoil effect on India’s foreign trade. In fact, Prime Minister Modi’s techniques to boost the country for the desired outcomes may hurt his own reforms agenda. It is important for the government to undertake the entry of several sectors to private enterprises. The pandemic situation badly pushed the Indian economy onto its downfall of 23.9% shrinkage in the first quarter of the year 2020. This was one of the major challenging aspects. The economy had already taken a massive hit and was struggling hugely. There were lesser employment and employment opportunities. The harrowing situations made it almost impossible for nearly fifty Lac workers to annually enter the labor force. Employment is one such sector that has experienced utmost damage owing to the pandemic. There are various reasons such as low state capacity, poor healthcare infrastructure, and highly populated urban centers affecting the development. Though India has simplified labor laws and has made corporate tax rates vanish, there are still persisting challenges such as burdensome land acquisition rules, foreign exchange controls, and exhaustive bureaucracy. One of the top Korean companies called POSCO, has given up the hopes from Indian investment plans due to cumbersome delays in land acquisition. This resulted in India’s shift to importing 6.69 million tonnes of steel despite being a great net exporter of iron ores.

WHAT CAN INDIA DO TO IMPROVE ITS SELF-RELIANT SITUATION?

Surely, the country needs to maximize its export capacity and spike up export-driven industries. The foreign capital generated from these exports will enable the government to use it for upskilling and technological up-gradation and capacity building. This step is crucial for the lives of the enormous Indian population which is under capitalism. The Keynesian demand management policy, which is financed by short-term monetization, is advised. Boosted wages, universal employment, and front-loading of government expenditure through discrepancy financing are of extreme significance. The government expenditure needs to upsurge on health and education, which would successfully reduce the out-of-pocket expenses of people on such services. All of this would enhance the purchasing power and reanimate the aggregate demand. Despite a huge revenue shortfall for the government, this is not a great time for monetary conservatism to pursue. The sooner the government ponders over these concerns, the better.

by Harshita Kirnalli

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