By RK Pachnanda
PM Modi’s visit to Ladakh, to motivate the valiant soldiers protecting our motherland, not only sent a firm and powerful message across but also exhibited a show of solidarity of a united atmanirbhar Bharat—a swabhiman bharat, a shashakta Bharat, a sangathit Bharat and ek atma Bharat.
The digital strike against China, banning 59 mobile applications including social media platforms, to counter the threat posed to the sovereignty and security, of the country, is another step in the direction of atmanirbhar Bharat. The prime minister was prompt in filling up the gap by launching the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Innovation Challenge’, crafted by MeitY and Atal Innovation Mission, for inculcating new apps and platforms by providing support in ideation, inculcation, prototyping and roll out along with market access in order to promote homegrown apps and develop new apps in e-learning, business, work from home, office utilities, entertainment and social networking.
It was on May 12 that the Prime Minister, in his address to the nation, had taken the country to a new level—a level of Atmanirbhar Bharat, while announcing a Rs 20 lakh crore fiscal package, to ignite this endeavour. “India is fighting multiple challenges along with Covid-19 including floods, locust attack, earthquakes… We have to turn crisis into opportunity for creating an Atmanirbhar Bharat and take steps to ensure that products which we import from elsewhere are manufactured in India”, PM Modi said. This “ will be a turning point for the country…a turning point for creating a self reliant India”.
‘Vasudhaiva kutumbakam’—the world is one family—is the philosophy behind atmanirbhar Bharat. And, India has proved this by acting as a responsible global citizen by sending medicines, protective gear and testing kits, unconditionally, to 89 countries. The pillars of atmanirbhar Bharat are economy, infrastructure, system, vibrant democracy and demand. It was clarified that “vocal for local” to make it global should not be misconceived as protectionism. Going vocal for local will benefit local production and employment and will address the crisis of migrant labour to a great extent; and, if people stay with their families, there will also be no emotional drain. All this will lead to the development of self-sustaining villages, coupled with a robust digital trading platform. Addressing the India Global Week 2020, the prime minister said that “Atmanirbhar Bharat does not means closed to the world” but means “…self-sustaining and self-generating …India is reforming, performing and transforming… India is a powerhouse of talent … Indians are natural reformers”.
The unstinted effort of the government, during Covid, was to convert the crisis into an opportunity. The prime minister wishes to tap the capacity and rich potential of the youth and professionals of the country. The government has tried to unite the country by introducing one country one tax, one country one ration card and one country one unified market, since farmers now have the freedom to sell their produce anywhere in the country.
The government has already ushered in a big boost to the MSME sector, changes in the Companies Act, altering the Essential Commodities Act, amendments in the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, private participation in the social infrastructure, civil aviation, coal, minerals, power distribution, space, atomic energy, defence production and many more measures. Earlier, the government had taken steps like the merger of banks, reducing corporate tax, a moratorium on NBFC loans and ensuring the percolation of banking services throughout the country to all. Jan-Dhan accounts and Aadhar have made it possible to reach millions of people. As it is, the Indian economy and infrastructure, due to its inherent resilience, is equipped to bounce back, despite the vicissitudes of the economy.
Indians have proved that we have an indomitable spirit and a sense of duty towards our country as equal stakeholders and trustees, to enable the vision of atmanirbhar Bharat to come true.
“Indians have the spirit to achieve the impossible” observed PM Modi. During Covid-19, we proved this resolve. According to the report of DD news, as on June 29, 2020, India had 1,036 COVID-19 dedicated laboratories, 1,055 dedicated Covid hospitals, 1,77,529 isolation beds, 23,168 ICU beds, 78,060 oxygen supported beds, 2,400 dedicated health centres and 9,519 Covid care centres with 8,34,128 beds. 187.43 lakh N95 masks and 116.99 lakh PPE kits were distributed by the centre to the States/Union Territories and central institutions. As on July 11, a total of 1, 10, 24, 491 samples had been tested. Today, India is producing over two lakhs PPE Kits and over two lakh N95 masks daily. This is the strength of an Atmanirbhar India.
The coming days seem to hold unprecedented opportunities, which India will utilise. Former US National Security Adviser John Bolton has said that India will be a global player of the 21st century. “Even namaste has gone global” observed the prime minister. The unveiling of the atamnirbhar Bharat resolve vaticinates a future which is reform-driven and fosters indigenous production and export.
The Rs 20 lakh crore economic stimulus, along with the slew of reforms announced by the government coupled with the blood and toil of 130 crore determined Indians, will work towards this end. Under the inspirational leadership and patriotic guidance and direction of PM Modi, there will be a radical metamorphosis, in thought, attitude and action, to transform India into a new, strong atmanirbhar Bharat very soon.
The author is a retired Director General, ITBP. Views are personal.