Swadeshi could be the new plank for Indian businesses after the coronavirus era, said Ashwani Mahajan, national co-convener, Swadeshi Jagran Manch. “We will have to depend much more on our domestic production and look inward to protect our people and their livelihoods,” Mahajan said, adding that the priority has to be on protecting the small businesses across the sectors to boost jobs.
Last year, India exited from Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations—touted as a mega trade deal—to protect its own domestic manufacturers. “There has always been a need to look inward and promote self-reliance as far as production and manufacturing are concerned, we need to do that,” Mahajan said, adding that imports from China, which have risen exponentially, have always remained an area of concern for their quality and pricing.
In 2018-19, India’s inward shipment from China stood over $60 billion, accounting for 13.7 per cent of the country’s total imports. China, India’s second largest trade partner, has come under the spotlight for its role in concealing critical information related to the spread of the novel coronavirus.
China has been supplying raw materials such as fertilizers, chemicals, iron and steel among other things besides active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) required for production of medicines such as antibiotics and lifestyle drugs to India.
Mahajan pointed out that several companies have already shown keenness to set up their manufacturing facilities in India. “Our ranking in the ‘ease of doing business’ index has improved immensely and India is turning out to be the favorite investment destination for many companies,” he noted.
The SJM earlier in a statement said that it expected a further reduction in repo rate—the rate at which banks borrow from the Reserve Bank of India—to boost the economy, which faces severe challenges in the wake of the spread of the coronavirus..