Amit Sharma is a Research Scholar at Kurukshetra University, Haryana, India. He is fond of writing on contemporary and emerging issues.
What is Self-Reliance?
Self-sufficiency is the greatest of all wealth. Amidst COVID-19 pandemic, almost every country wants to become self-reliant. A self-reliant country relies on its own financial resources, human resources and technology. Self-reliance helps a country to develop its economy faster than others and bring prosperity to it. It makes a country more resilient to overcome the problems and challenges which may arise due to pandemics, epidemics or other kind of eventualities. Coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the supply chains not only domestically but globally. Those nations who are dependent on other countries to a greater extent, are facing the severe economic and health challenges during this time. The concept of self-reliance is associated with the production of key goods and services within the country to fulfill the demand of domestic population along with foreign consumers by exporting to them in their respective countries.
What is India's Perspective?
The Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi has spoken about self-reliance during his address to the nation on May 12, 2020. He called this campaign as “Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan” (Self-Reliant India Campaign). He emphasized on the fact that it's time to become vocal for local products and promote them globally.
An economic package of around $266 billion was announced on May 12, 2020 to revive the economy from the severe effects of COVID-19 pandemic. It accounts for nearly 10% of gross domestic product of India (GDP). It is also called the Indian Government 's COVID-19 Package. The package was divided into 5 tranches and the detail of each tranche was announced by the Finance Minister of India between May 13th to May 17th 2020. It will benefit various segments including MSMEs, cottage industry, middle class and farmers along with others. Basically, it is a step towards materializing the dream of becoming self-reliant India.
There is a need to strengthen and leverage the given 5 pillars to attain the goal of self-reliance as announced by the Indian Prime Minister:-
- Vibrant Demography
When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
— Joseph P. Kennedy
What Does India Need to Do?
The citizens and government officials of India have to understand the above quote given by Kennedy and make a strong effort to convert these bitter trials into blessings. As COVID-19 pandemic has imposed several challenges from ensuring the smoothness in the supply chains to various health and other social and economic issues, India has to come out with new policies and strategies as per global standards. It is imperative to be a self-sufficient to overcome the problem of supply chains.
At this juncture, relying more on others may exacerbate the current economic and health challenges manifold. It is also true that everyone wants to become strong and self-sufficient but few are willing to put their efforts in this direction. India has to come in the list of these few and strengthen those five pillars to become self-reliant and one of the world leaders of tomorrows. India has potential and opportunities to put its name in the list of superpowers of tomorrows while fulfilling the dream of becoming self-reliant India. That’s why, various measures are being taken up by the government to establish conducive infrastructure and ecosystem to produce various key products and services domestically.
What Makes India Different From Others?
India has a unique factor i.e., vibrant demography that makes it different from other countries. According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), India has demographic dividend opportunity which will be available for next 30 to 36 years, longer than any other country in the world. Demographic dividend refers to a situation where the ratio of working age population is higher than the dependency ratio that consists children and elderly people.
To harness this demographic dividend opportunity, India needs to increase the amount of investment in enhancing human capabilities, which further can have a positive influence on growth and development. Better education and health facilities can be provided to the youth of india for generating fruitful results. Through education and training, India can make its youth capable of doing upcoming jobs which require new skills and competencies. Indian youths have potential not only to serve domestically but they can play very significant roles at significant designations in MNCs of other countries too. There is need to encourage them for entrepreneurship by providing them required theoretical knowledge and practical experiences so that they can be able to create employment opportunities for others too. The data given below highlights the vibrant demography that India possesses:
Below the Age of 25
More than 50%
Below the Age of 35
More than 60%
Emerging Opportunity During Pandemic (COVID-19)
No one can deny the fact that India has a huge potential to convert the COVID-19 challenges into opportunities and can become a world leader in the coming years. As we know, China is the fulcrum of this pandemic and most populated country in the world following by India. It is one of the manufacturing hubs of the world.
The pandemic has severely affected almost each and every country of the world economically and socially. On the one hand, China has controlled it to a greater extent while on the other hand, number of infected cases and deaths is continuously rising in other countries. Everyone knows that China is concealing various facts and data from others which might be very useful to overcome the pandemic and the mindset of covertness has arisen mistrust among other countries towards it. The governments of most of the countries have directed their entrepreneurs and owners of MNCs to boycott business operations (production, marketing and selling) from China and also suggested to their customers regarding not to purchase Chinese products. Countries are showing their frustrations by doing all these things and taking these kinds of decisions.
3 Things That India Can Do to Grab This Opportunity
Multinational Companies of different countries would now seek alternatives to establish their manufacturing units outside China to avail the benefits of;
- Cheap labor;
- Availability of raw material;
- Largest consumer market.
- Conducive infrastructure.
Now, India can do three things to attract these MNCs towards it.
1. Need to Create Conducive Infrastructure
India is blessed with top three attributes and needs to work on creating conducive infrastructure for establishing startups. Various kinds of reliefs in Special Economic Package, especially for MSMEs, farmers and startups, might be proved as an important step towards this direction. India has huge potential to attract foreign manufacturers towards it. Even, it has shown its own capabilities, strength and dominance in pharmaceutical sector during this pandemic.
India has been emerged as a leading exporter of generic medicines across the world. There is high demand for hydroxychloroquine tablets (a tablet manufactured in India to prevent malaria) in international market including US. This Indian tablet is being considered as a mean to prevent and treatment coronavirus disease across the world. The US President Donald Trump, even once touted about HCQ tablet that it is a 'game-changer' in the fight against COVID-19. India has shipped more than 50 million tablets to the US. India has sold more than 22.5 crore HCQ tablets since March. All these data show that this country may emerge as a global leader in this sector in the days to come.
2. Need to Change In Perspective
One of the major factors that attracts the foreign investors is the huge population of India that will certainly surpass the China in the next 4-5 years. But the problem is that it is regarded as a liability and as an economic disaster rather than an economic dividend in India. While on the other hand, foreign investors see it as an asset. Now, time has come, when India has to change its perspective and bring enough confidence in policymakers and decision makers because India has not got any benefit from this asset yet. Due to lack of confidence, India has had to rely on imports to meet its domestic demand.
In simple words, Indian population is not a liability but a huge potential market. As per the report of a World Economic Forum, consumer spending in India is expected to grow from USD 1.5 trillion at present to USD 6 trillion by 2030. It can come in the list of world leaders of tomorrows. If Indian Government succeed in creating conducive infrastructure in the days to come then no one can stop India to become a global hub of manufacturing products and vast number of MNCs would be there.
3. Need to Understand the Role of Education in Development
A lot of research has shown that there is a positive relationship between the expenditures incurred on education and per capita GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of a country. We know that education helps in enhancing human capital which further enhances productivity and it leads to economic growth of a country. Educated people would get high salary jobs, which leads to huge amount of discretion income in their pockets and which will be helpful in improving their living standards as they can properly take care of themselves along with their family members. The amount of tax that they pay on their income would be helpful for further growth and development.
That's why, If you are not providing quality education to the people, at that time, you are not only creating uneducated masses but depriving your country from various opportunities of growth and development.
New Education Policy 2020: -
India has introduced new education policy almost 34 years after the NEP of 1984, which may be proved a concrete step towards the dream. The aim of this policy is to provide quality education and flexible learning opportunities to the students. Role of education, especially of higher education in holistically developing a country cannot be ignored in any way.
Major Reforms for Higher Education;
- Holistic and Multidisciplinary Education - Flexibility in the process of selections of subjects;
- Multiple Entry/Exit System in Undergraduate and Postgraduate Courses;
- Research Intensive/Teacher Intensive Universities and Autonomous Degree Granting Colleges;
- NEP 2020 also provides for Model- Multidisciplinary Education and Research University (MERU);
- Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) to be set up for the higher education sector, excluding medicine and law;
- India has to achieve 50% Gross Enrolment Ratio by the year 2035.
Educated people are those who are not only eligible for getting jobs but may be instrumental in creating employment opportunities for others too. It is a matter of fact that there are mutual and cyclical relationships between employment, demand, production and again employment. We know if production is increased then GDP and per-capita income of a country will proliferate and which promotes further development. Understanding of these relationships is very much necessary in this pandemic time to frame a vibrant policy for reviving the economy.
Employment ↔ Demand ↔ Production↔ Employment
Here Are the 10 Most Educated Countries in the World.
As we can see from the table given below that the education level in most of the developed countries is commendable, which somewhere indicates the positive relationship between the level of education and development of a country.
Education Level (%)
4. South Korea
5. United Kingdom
6. United States
Wrapping it Up
Self-reliance, in any sense, neither means isolation nor having no contacts and connections with the rest of the world. Indeed, the real meaning of it is to be a provider of goods and services to other countries along with fulfilling the demand of domestic consumers rather than to be a dependent on others. In simple words, self-reliance means others are relying on you but you are not relying on them. India has to increase the amount of investment on R&D (Research and Development) and Education, as these two areas may be proved helpful to a greater extent in meeting the challenge of producing goods and services of global standards at competitive costs which is so much vital to stay and survive in the present era and to become a world leader.
This is mine, that is his, say the small minded,
The wise believe that the entire world is a family.
— Source: Maha Upanishad 6.71–75
We need to understand a social philosophy of India i.e. Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. This concept is emerged from Sanskrit literature which suggests that the whole world is one family. Currently, India is following this principle in this pandemic time. it is striving to become a self-sufficient country along with considering the wellbeing of other countries too by supplying necessary medicines to them in this critical time. Every human being, whether he/she is an Indian or a foreigner, must understand that "Together We Can, Together We Will".
What Do You Think?
© 2020 Amit Sharma
Amit Sharma (author) from Haryana, India. on August 26, 2020:
Thank you very much for your kind words and suggestions.
Jane Adaeze from Aba,Abia State on August 26, 2020:
Well articulated,but you can concise your writing so your audience can capture immediately because some may not have the patience to read all. Good work.
Amit Sharma (author) from Haryana, India. on August 16, 2020:
Thanks for the endorsement.
Arshdeep Singh on August 16, 2020:
In my review , really a good work on , how India is going to become " Vishaw Guru" in near future. The New Education Policy will help th New India to achieve its goals, and this will be proved as fulcrum for strong edifice of economy.
And author cleared that how self-reliance is farther from protectionism in a very smoothly way.
Accross the article has wrote in a colliquily way and far from jargons , a layman may understand easily.