Prime Minister Narendra Modi made another “vocal for local” pitch on Sunday, urging citizens to buy only products made in the country. The Prime Minister said that if people were to buy only locally made products, and advocate the same to others, they’d be playing a role in strengthening India.
Made during the Prime Minister’s monthly radio address, Mann ki Baat, the call to buy “made in India” products forms the base of the government’s vision for a “Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India)” to help the economy recover from the crippling coronavirus lockdown.
“If you buy local and become vocal for local, you are playing your role in making the country strong – this is also a type of service to the nation. Be it any profession, there is scope for service to the nation,” the Prime Minister said, adding, “People from all over India are writing, reiterating their support to the movement to make India self-reliant”.
People from all over India are writing, reiterating their support to the movement to make India self-reliant.
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) June 28, 2020
Today’s “vocal for local” call by the Prime Minister assumes added significance against the backdrop of widespread economic backlash against China.
Traders across the country, including CAIT (Confederation of Indian Traders, which claims to represent seven crore traders) have called for the boycott of Chinese goods after the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers in eastern Ladakh.
Photos and videos of people burning China-made electronics and other goods have been widely shared on social media and, on Saturday, a group of Zomato employees burnt branded t-shirts to protest Chinese investment in the firm.
The government has also chipped in; state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd has been told not to use Chinese equipment for 4G upgrades and a railways contract awarded to a Chinese firm has been withdrawn over “poor progress”.
The Prime Minister, while not explicitly backing calls to boycott Chinese goods, said the people’s decision would contribute to a “Atmanirbhar Bharat“.
“No mission can be successful without the people’s participation. This is why we seek the cooperation of all for a “Atmanirbhar Bharat“. We will buy local and be vocal for local and this will help India become stronger,” the PM said.
China’s response to boycott calls has been guarded, with Chinese government mouthpiece Global Times predicting that a smaller economy cannot impose “sanctions” on a larger one and “India will suffer more losses if it launches a trade war against China”.
Meanwhile, earlier this month the Congress said the “vocal for local” call was another trick by the Narendra Modi government to divert attention from “real issues”. Senior leader Kapil Sibal pointed out the Prime Minister’s “rhetoric” failed to include even a roadmap for achieving this lofty goal.
With input from ANI