Importance of Atmanirbhar Bharat

A nation’s strength ultimately consists in what it can do on its own, and not in what it can borrow from others.” – Indira Gandhi.

Self-Reliance, one thing which is common in all developed nations and a thing that a developing nation wants to achieve. One of those developing nations which are striving to make themselves self-reliant is India. The battle to become self-reliant is not new but started back from the independence itself. At that time, India was the largest economy in South Asia, the self-reliance in the state heavy industries and strategic sectors in the post-independence decades put India before most of the developing world.

However, in the 1970s and 1980s, India did not modernize these industries to move up the technological ladder. Little was done to modernize light industries. The industrial ecosystem was held hostage to the license-permit-quota system that hampered innovation. As a result, self-reliance gave way to corruption and dependence on imports. A major turn came in 1991 after economic liberalization in India was initiated in 1991 by Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao and his then-Finance Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.

1) Atmanirbhar Bharat and the idea behind it

At a time when the world was plagued by the deadly pandemic, PM Narendra Modi launched a campaign which was meant to convert this crisis into an opportunity and strengthen India’s fight by becoming Aatmanirbhar or self-reliant.

-> There are five pillars of Atmanirbhar Bharat which focus on:

  • Economy
  • Infrastructure
  • System
  • Vibrant Demography and
  • Demand

-> The Five phases of Atmanirbhar Bharat are:

  • Phase-I: Businesses including MSMEs
  • Phase-II: Poor, including migrants and farmers
  • Phase-III: Agriculture
  • Phase-IV: New Horizons of Growth
  • Phase-V: Government Reforms and Enablers

PM Modi emphasized the fact that it is time to voice our local products and make them global. A special economic package was created as part of this campaign. Established by the government, which will benefit various segments including the craft industry, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), workers, the middle class and industry. The economic package announced by the Prime Minister, along with various packages launched during the lockdown period, amounts to around 20 lakh crore rupees ($ 283.73 billion), which was roughly 10 percent of India’s GDP. It was expected to support and empower different parts of the country and give new impetus to the development of the country in 2020.

In order to express the determination of an independent India, land, labor, liquidity and laws were included in this package. Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs, Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman, made all the announcements related to several sectors on different days, divided into five tranches, and provided detailed information on the steps the government is taking.

2) Division of package for different sectors in Atmanirbhar Bharat

  • First tranche – Rs 5,94,550 crore

The first aid installment announced by Nirmala Sitharaman focuses on empowering the backbone of the Indian economy: MSMEs, which employ around 11 billion people and have a GDP share of around 29 percent. This included unsecured loans of Rs.3 billion and a capital injection of Rs. 50,000 billion for MSMEs through the funds

  • Second tranche – Rs 3,10,000 crore

Nirmala Sitharaman’s second installment of measures was targeted at migrant workers and street vendors. The minister introduced ‘one nation one ration card’ card so migrant workers can buy ration from any ration depot in the country. Around 50 lakh street vendors will have access to a special credit facility of Rs 5,000 crore within an initial working capital of Rs 10,000. Around 2 lakh crore rupees will be delivered to farmers via kisan credit cards, while 2.5 crore farmers, including fishermen and animal husbandry farmers will be able to attain institutional loans at a preferential rate.

  • Third tranche – Rs 1,50,000 crore

The third tranche worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore aims at agriculture and related sectors, including dairy, livestock and fisheries, as the government proclaimed measures to toughen the broad agricultural sector.

  • Fourth and fifth tranches – Rs 48,100 crore

The fourth installment of the Rs 20 Lakh Crore package included reforms for sectors such as coal, minerals, defense production, airspace management, airports, MRO, UT distributors, space and nuclear energy.

3) Sectors to benefit from Atmanirbhar bharat.

I. MICRO, SMALL, AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES

Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises have played a vital role in Indian economy. It has contributed one third to the GDP of India and also provided employment to large sections of society. The sector is source of livelihood to 110 million people. With the current phase of Atmanirbhar Bharat these MSME’s has become more significant to India’s financial and economic sector. Acknowledging the importance of this sector it would contribute to 50 million jobs and half of India’s GDP in the coming five years.

Benefits of MSME’s under Atmanirbhar Bharat:

  • Collateral free loans- The commencement of collateral free automatic loans will assist the existing borrowers and this will also give the fuel restart to the business operation.

Some of the key highlights of this benefits are-

-> According to bank policies, the current borrowers should have the standard ratings and turnover of rs.100 crore.

-> Four years of loan tenure and 12 months on principle payment.

-> No additional collateral is required.

  • Equity Infusion- Government is going to setup a fund for funds of 10,000 crore to overcome this situation of pandemic. FOF will be operated through a Mother fund and few Daughter fund. Through these funds the MSME’s can expand their size and capabilities. This will also encourage MSME’s to get listed on the board of stock exchange.
  • Debt for stressed MSME’s- To support MSME’s the central government will provide Rs. 20,000crore as subordinate debts. The infusion of fresh capital into the business will reduce the burden on MSME’s and will benefit two lakh MSME’s.

II. Agriculture and Fisheries

Agriculture is the most important sector of Indian economy. It contributes to 18% of GDP and provide employment to 50% of countries workforce. Government towards improving this sector has released two major initiatives Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana (PM-KISAN) and Agriculture Infrastructure Fund this will help to improve the financial and agriculture status of farmer.

Benefits of agriculture under Atmanirbhar Bharat:

  • Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana (PM-KISAN)- Under this scheme financial benefit of Rs 6,000/- is provided to beneficiary farmers and is payable in three equals that is 4 monthly installments of Rs 2,000/-. However, under this scheme an amount of more than 17,000 crore has been transferred to 8.5 crore beneficiary farmers.
  • Agriculture Infrastructure Fund- The objective of this scheme is to drive investment across the agricultural chain. This scheme will allow farmers to store their produce till they get better price and affordable post-harvest infrastructure. Farmers and other stakeholders will have access to financing 3% interest and credits from governments and this will help them to enhance their product value.

III. Coal Mining Reforms

India being the fourth- largest producer of coal in the world. In the vision to build Atmanirbhar Bharat a reform to promote commercial coal mining in India has been announced. Opening up of these sectors will expand world class production capacity and provide top product services with global supply chain.

Benefits of Coal mining under Atmanirbhar Bharat:

  • Forty-one coal mines are opened for auction and there are no end restrictions on the coal production for these mining. Bidders will not require any previous experience in coal mining they just have to put up sufficient amount of money. Mining plan approval will be provided in 30 days rather than 90 days. Coal mining will be determined through a National Coal Index for different grades of coal.
  • These 41 mines are likely to produce 225 million tones annually and Rs. 33,000 capital expenditure to get these mining going. Additionally, state government will generate more than 20,000 crore per year in royalties from these mining. This will generate direct and in direct jobs for more than 3 lakh employers and is expected to generate fund of Rs. 112 crores for the District Minerals Foundation Fund.

IV. Non-Banking finance (NBFCs), Housing finance companies (HFCs), Microfinance institutions

For the Non-banking finance companies (NBFCs), Housing finance companies (HFCs), Microfinance institutions (MFIs) Ministry of finance has announced following measures:

  • Special liquidity scheme worth Rs. 30,000 crores
  • Partial credit guarantee scheme worth Rs. 45,000 crores

Benefits of these schemes under Atmanirbhar Bharat:

  •  Main objective of Special liquidity scheme is to provide liquidity support to MSMEs that are impacted due to this pandemic. Under this scheme investments will be made both in primary and secondary transactions in investment papers of NBFCs, HFCs, MFIs. These securities will be fully guaranteed by government. This scheme will ensure operational continuity and promote leading MSME sector.
  • Partial credit guarantee scheme is for NBFCs, HFCs, MFIs, having low credit rating and provide liquidity to leading MSMEs and individual and first 20% loan will be given by the government. This also helps the MSMEs to avoid distress sale of their assets for meeting immediate funds.

Conclusion

This campaign can reach its epitome if supported well by the government. Keeping in mind the increasing incursions by China and India’s dependence on it, the success of the campaign is now more in need than ever. If the government is solemn about instigating this economic philosophy, it must clearly list the areas that need improvement to make Indian manufacturing competitive. Only then will entailed policies get outlined and implemented to bring about the change.

Digital Disparity.

Covid19 expanded the digital divide. And shows the disparities within the society between the rural and urban, rich and poor. Lockdown compelled the shift to the virtual model. some of the students managed to receive an education without any obstacles. but many unprivileged students have been deprived of it. resulted in drop out of college and institutes due to the financial crisis of lockdown. Before the pandemic differences prevail in access to education but corona widened the gap. Rural areas have severe internet connectivity problems but Half of India’s population is living in rural parts of the country.

India is the second-largest populated country in the world. But it is a developing country. to maintain education for all during the lockdown when the schools are shut is quite challenging. the digital divide between the government and private institutes can be witnessed. Virtual learning wasn’t much challenging for private school students. Unlike the students of the government schools, who didn’t have access to the digital equipment. the Unprivileged children can’t afford access to quality internet and gadgets. Thus being deprived of education. The right to education is meaningless in the covid scenario. The government needs to bridge the digital divide to ensure students’ education. Some students are ahead of others. As many students drop out of school due to financial problems.

 Access to the internet on their mobile phones is a matter of concern as well. The need of the time is to provide digital infrastructure and tools access to unprivileged ones to access online classes. The digital divide has led to incidences of student suicides. many students committed suicide after drop out. Even in urban areas, disparities prevail. those living in slumps and downtrodden areas can’t afford education.

The government needs to focus on technology and extending the vision of digital India.

Those who have access to education face many hurdles such as in assembling notes, in paying attention due to bad network coverage. Getting time to do self-study is also difficult. preparation of online tests is another problem. seeking notes from some of the online sources is also difficult because some websites charge for the subscription which is not possible for everyone. students have to sit in front of the computer screen for many hours and Practical knowledge is not possible during the pandemic because it is hard for the students to perform practical virtually. even for teachers, it is difficult to prepare presentations for the students. 

pandemic hit increases our dependence on technology. The focus had always been on practical knowledge and skills. we are being actively tested for our knowledge without any proper structure of assessment. Most importantly, not all teachers are not good at technical stuff to manage classes or material distribution.

. COVID-19 also raised prominent questions about the need, significance, and value of virtual learning platforms. The majority of the students have been affected negatively and therefore the government should come up with such education policies that would benefit all the students. Common people also need to volunteer to lead a hand to needy people.

Inaccessible or Untouchables?

There is more to this existence than meets the eye!

Our economy is being ruined between inefficient government and sluggish opposition, if the situation does not improve then we will become the new ‘Untouchables.’


Untouchability has been a stigma for our country for centuries. Ambedkar, who fought for his whole life, claimed that there is enough evidence to suggest that it has been going on since 400 BC and it has always been the way of Indians to live.
This is the reason why devout Hindus on one hand and committed inclusionist Gandhi, on the other hand, believed that it is good for us to end this deadly practice. And Nehru, who relied on social justice, had said that India will never reach its true height until we end the caste system and ensure equality for all Indians.

This is the motive that our constitution made untouchability illicit and considered it a punishable offence.
But is it over? No.
Untouchability is deeply ingrained in our thinking and is seen openly. Its ugliness has recently increased, which has been promoted by some political parties, who want to keep it alive to achieve ruthless majoritarianism.

Now only the lower castes, Dalits, are not suffering. In some parts of India, indigent people belonging to a particular community have become new untouchables. So in some parts, some tribes are the new untouchables, who have been left marginalized by governments to grab their land, forest and mineral wealth.

And now, after this pandemic in the country, we see a new class of untouchables is emerging. These are sick, migrant labourers, unemployed and extremely impoverished people. Their connection with the cities is broken and their villages do not want to take them back because they are unemployed and miserable and additionally there is a risk of health issues.

Today the suffering/affected people are being boycotted openly. Their wives and children are not allowed to be home quarantined as per the regulations. People are getting them out of the village, throwing them along with their family members from trains, refusing to burn in the crematorium when one dies. Dead bodies are being collected in hospital corridors. Nobody wants to accept them, not even own family. The corpses are placed next to the patients being treated. It is like a return to the fierce plague.

But, today who is the frustrated-indigent?
No, not the farmers who commit suicide every year due to poverty. Now, these dispirited poor are those who were working in our factories, offices and our homes till back in the days. It also includes small traders, food carts, autorickshaw drivers, small restaurant workers, multiplexes and security guards standing outside malls.

Viruses and lockdowns left them unemployed, homeless and nearly devastated. And now about 14 crores middle-class families have also been associated with them. According to research, their savings will end by the end of July. That is, they will be poverty-stricken.

A recent survey shows that 84 per cent of the households have suffered severe loss of income after lockdown. They are living on their savings right now. By the end of this month, with the increase in rains, many middle-class families will fall into the category of destitute.

They will also be unable to spend on treatment or meet basic family needs. They will have to leave the rented house, sell their goods and borrow money at such a rate, which will become impossible for them to repay later. They are also worried pensioners who relied on interest from the bank, as banks have reduced interest rates.

Those who counted on their children working abroad are also trapped because their children have lost their jobs or lost wages. Meanwhile, the prices of petrol and diesel are continuously increasing, while the prices should have been reduced based on the global trend. This is going to make everything expensive.

Overall, the pace of the wave is not stopping and more and more people will continue to drown.  The government is refusing to provide cash in their hands, as some other countries are doing. These are the new untouchables. Nobody has time for these and the government has the least interest in their future or prospect. Instead, govt is making hefty policies of millions for billions, which will never reach out to these people.

An economy that was ready for a better future, is being wrecked.

PM launches employment scheme for migrant workers

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched an employment scheme for migrant workers, saying that during the coronavirus-induced lockdown the talent from cities returned to villages and it will now give a boost to development in rural areas.

Launching the ‘Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyaan‘, Modi said there are some people who may not appreciate efforts of villagers in the fight against the novel coronavirus but he applauds them for their efforts. The way villages have fought coronavirus has taught a big lesson to the cities, he added.

Talent has returned from cities during the lockdown, those whose labour and skills were behind the rapid growth of cities will now boost development of villages with the help of this scheme, he said. Underlining that migrant workers were always in the Centre’s thoughts during the lockdown, the prime minister said it is an endeavour of his government that workers get jobs near their home and help in development of villages.

Talking about infrastructure development of villages with the help of this scheme, Modi said that for the first time the Internet was being used more in villages than in cities and now work to increase the speed of the Internet was being undertaken. This scheme will focus on durable rural infrastructure and providing modern facilities like Internet in the villages, he said.

The Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyaan was launched by Modi via video conference in a village in Katihar district of Bihar in the presence of chief ministers of five states — Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand — and a minister from Odisha. The scheme with an outlay of Rs 50,000 crore will be implemented on mission mode in 125 days in 116 districts of the six states to which the maximum number of the migrant workers have returned.

The mission will be a convergent effort between 12 different ministries/ departments such as Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Road Transport and Highways, Mines, Drinking Water and Sanitation, Environment, Railways, Petroleum and Natural Gas, New and Renewable Energy, Border Roads, Telecom, and Agriculture. It will help expedite implementation of 25 public infrastructure works and those related to augmentation of livelihood opportunities.

These 25 works are related to rural housing for the poor, plantations, provision of drinking water through Jal Jeevan Mission, and construction of panchayat bhavans, community toilets, rural mandis, rural roads, cattle sheds and anganwadi bhavans, according to the Ministry of Rural Development, which is the nodal ministry for the project. The basket of a wide variety of works will ensure that each migrant worker is able to get an opportunity of employment according to his skill in the coming 125 days, it said, adding that the programme will also prepare for expansion and development of livelihoods over a longer term. Before launching the scheme, Modi spoke to several migrants and enquired their current state of employment and also whether the various welfare schemes launched during the lockdown period were available to them.

Modi expressed satisfaction and said that earlier, money used to be given in the name of beneficiaries but it never reached them but now things have changed. In the beginning of his speech, Modi paid homage to the soldiers of the Bihar Regiment who lost their lives in a violent clash with Chinese troops at LAC in eastern Ladakh. Officials said Garib Kalyan Rozgyar Abhiyan is separate from the MGNREGS.

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) ensures 100 days of employment per household in an year. MGNREGS is applicable across the country and a large number of works are allowed under the scheme even working on own farms by small Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe farmers is allowed and government pay wages to them. Whereas the Garib Kalyan Rozgar Yojana is a one-time scheme for providing employment to migrant workers who returned during the lockdown near their villages.

This scheme is only applicable to 116 districts with a selected list of works initially for 125 days. Later it could be extended, the officials said.

Source: PTI