Recently, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a big announcement of Rs. 20 lakh crore stimulus relief packages, equivalent to 10% of India’s GDP which will help to deal with the economic crisis due to Covid-19.
- The pandemic has brought the horrible reality into light that decades of bad political and economic policies have dehumanised millions of Indians.
- In response to the biggest economic crisis since 1979 triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent 54-day lockdown, the Central government’s fiscal relief so far is limited to just about 1.1% of GDP.
Importance of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan
- As a reaction to COVID-19 crisis, the Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan (ANBA) policy is aimed at meeting Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of individual self-reliance and recognizing poverty as the worst form of violence.
- It is aimed at avoiding the scenario of unemployment transforming to hunger and illiquidity changes to insolvency.
- The agriculture package of Rs 1.63 lakh crore included farm-gate and aggregation point infrastructure, fisheries, animal husbandries, and others (animal vaccination, micro food enterprises) is launched to support the primary sector which provides employment to the largest population in India.
- The non-bank liquidity package of Rs 5.94 lakh crore included MSMEs, NBFCs, MFIs, housing finance companies, power discoms, and others (PF, tax relief) is aimed at providing relief to the loanees and tax payers.
- The migrant and farmer package of Rs 3.16 lakh crore included concessional credit via Kisan credit card, farmer working capital, affordable housing, and others (food, street vendors, microloans) is aimed at providing relief mainly to the workers in the unorganized sector.
- The welfare and health package of Rs 1.85 lakh crore included women and pensioner benefits, MNREGA, emergency health response, and others (food, financial security) aims to target the vulnerable section of the society.
- RBI’s liquidity measures of Rs 5.24 lakh crore included two phases of targeted long-term repo operations, CRR cut, marginal standing facility limit increase, refinancing facilities, and mutual fund special liquidity facility is aimed at maintaining liquidity in the market.
- The structural reform in airlines, defence, etc. are exciting but reform to the Essential Commodities Act, Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) and contract farming directly impact prosperity (45 per cent of our agricultural labour force generates only 14 per cent of GDP).
- It marks the end of monopolies and aims to provide a new public-private partnership opportunity which ensures pragmatism and efficiency targeting.
- It is not cutting off India from the world but instead it is creating new openness to ideas, investment, and trade.
- It is aimed at making India self-reliant and prepares themselves from post COVID-19 repercussions.
- It is a major push for Indian local brands to advertise and make their products visible at a national level at the beginning and eventually position themselves to face global competition in the future
- The roll-out of collateral-free loans will inject much-needed liquidity in the unorganised retail sector, leading to business expansion & local brand promotion through digital or TV Advertising.
- It is a great opportunity time for thousands of local brands to showcase their products and services and urge their countrymen to buy locally.
Concerns associated to Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan
- India’s welfare state does not lack intentions but lacks resources as no amount of CSR, philanthropy, or government borrowing can provide the resources for the care of weak, vulnerable, and unlucky that will flow from more productive cities, firms, and citizens.
- The government expects to take a big hit on estimated tax revenues and proceeds of disinvestment and if the ‘gap’ has been estimated at about Rs 4.2 lakh crore, the additional borrowing will fill that ‘gap’, which is unavoidable and the amount of Rs 4.2 lakh crore certainly cannot be counted as a fiscal stimulus.
- There is no clarity from the government regarding cuts in the expenditureof other non-essential things.
- There is a possibility of linking RBI’s economic measures with the Centre’s economic package as liquidity works on the supply side and fiscal stimulus is needed for the demand side.
Suggestions for effective implementation of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan
- There are unfinished agendas of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan 2.0which includes civil service reform, government reform, financial reform, urban reform, education reform, skill reform and labour reform.
- The local brands must utilize the digital platform in order to showcase their product and increase their reach.
- The government’s job is to ensure that the India’s most vulnerable citizensshould not be abandoned during a pandemic.
- India requires a strong and reliable supply-chain networks (SCNs)connected through modern communication and technology as such networks will ensure continuous generation of revenue for small and marginal farmers, small traders and for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME).
- While India is self-sufficient in food and raw material for clothing and housing, the focus should be on the development of robust SCNs, particularly for food and other essentials, that saves lives during pandemics.
- A special policy cell or unit in the government could be formed as the nodal point of contact to formulate policies, complete digitization of supply-chain networks, streamline guidelines and standard operating procedures, as well as trouble shooting various issues.
- The government must also ensure that bureaucratic red tape does not kill any nascent recovery at a time when businesses, whose balance sheets have been hit hard by the crisis, need the freedom to adjust to a new economic reality.
- A modern state is a welfare state with formal private jobs.
- The idealization of Scandinavian social democracies forgets that their dense social security nets are underwritten by remarkably free economies.
- The World Bank Ease of Doing Business scale ranks Denmark third, Norway seventh, and Sweden 12th of 190 countries and it the best time for Indian products to establish themselves as brands by advertising and turn this short-term crisis to a long-term financial opportunity.
Source: The Indian Express