Why we must clearly define atmanirbharta and our reasons for chasing it

Employment deficit is a bigger problem for India than trade deficit. That and the feasibility question should not be lost in PLI's search for strategic self-reliance, writes T N Ninan


T N Ninan
No economy is an island “entire of itself”, as Donne might have said. And self-reliance (or atmanirbhar Bharat) is not autarky. At the height of the Nehruvian drive for self-reliance, India was importing everything from machinery and capital to technology and weaponry, even pens. As indigenisation efforts stalled, the import dependence grew. Even today the most “self-reliant” defence and space projects have significant import content. The Tejas fighter aircraft has engines from General Electric, while the Indian Space Research Organisation’s website says the import content in its satellites is 50-55 per cent. The country’s nuclear power stations are critically dependent on imported uranium, and of course there is the 85 per cent import dependence when it comes to oil.

To make
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First Published: Apr 29 2022 | 7:36 PM IST

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