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Perils of 'self-reliance'

Protectionism will hurt India's economy and its people

Topics
protectionism | Coronavirus | Lockdown

Business Standard Editorial Comment 

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced the concept of “aatmanirbharta” or self-reliance to the nation in his televised address on the subject of the government’s relief and stimulus package, he was careful to distinguish India’s efforts from isolationist policies and said that self-reliance would allow a more vigorous embrace of the global economy. In subsequent days, some senior government officials also sought to emphasise that self-reliance, in this context, did not mean . Yet this messaging seems to have been walked back more recently. Twice now in the past week — once in his radio broadcast, and again while addressing the Confederation of Indian Industry — the prime minister has spoken of reducing imports as a goal. This could theoretically, of course, be merely the consequence of an increase in Indian competitiveness. But Home Minister Amit Shah was even more explicit in recent comments to the media, where he urged Indians to use only products made in India. On being asked if this would isolate and weaken the economy, he argued instead that he strongly believed “that our economy will not be weak because of this, neither will we be isolated because the entire world needs India's 130 crore-strong consumer market.”

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First Published: Thu, June 04 2020. 01:51 IST
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