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Since 2017 the rule of origin was there in case of e-commerce but was not being implemented: SJM co-convenor

The Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) has called upon the government and the bureaucracy to strictly implement the ‘rule of origin’ norm to stop unwanted imports from other countries primarily China. Ashwani Mahajan, national co-convenor, SJM in an interview with the IN said that the government must implement this norm in letter and spirit to protect the Indian domestic manufacturers.

“Since 2017 the rule of origin was there in case of e-commerce but was not being implemented but now it has been forced by the government and the companies have also fallen in line,” Mahajan said.

Mahajan added that the Indian manufacturers do not lack capability but there is need to provide them the necessary protection.

Imports from China have steadily increased over the last decade. India’s main imports from China comprises mobile phones, electronic equipment, chemicals, iron and steel, plastics, fertilisers, textiles among other things. India has also been importing large quantities of raw materials including active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) required for production of medicines such as antibiotics and lifestyle drugs and other components such as iron and steel, chemicals, plastics among other things.

Sample this. In 2017-18, imports from the dragon nation accounted for 16.4 per cent of the total basket. In 2009-10, the figure was just 10.7 per cent. However, since then it has eased a little. While in 2018-19 imports from China accounted for 13.69 per cent, sources said there was enough evidence to suggest that the dragon has continued to export to India, albeit indirectly, which means it has re-routed its through other countries.

India, on its part, has moved fast to give a push to manufacturing. The states including Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan have done their bit too by bringing in the pending labor reforms.

While at this juncture India’s economic dependence on China is significantly high, experts have pointed out the need to start building the required capacities so that “unnecessary” imports can be curbed while boosting the manufacturing sector, critical for job generation in the country.

“We have to rebuild those capacities, it is not impossible, it may take two to three years but what is important is to start that process of self dependence,” Mahajan said..