What the Prime Minister Didn’t Say | HT Editorial – Editorials
In a speech to the Indian Chamber of Commerce on Friday, Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi reiterated his call for a self-sufficient India. He urged the Indian industry to think and act bravely; asked citizens to buy local products and returned to Swami Vivekananda to emphasize how Indians buy national products and make foreigners buy local products is an effective remedy; described the manufacturing possibilities; and spoke about the interconnections between people, profits and the planet.
The pandemic has highlighted the close links between people and nature. The Prime Minister, through his term, has often spoken about placing environmental awareness at the heart of India’s future. This is laudable, although many will ask why this principle is often not reflected in practice, given the quick authorizations provided by the environment ministry for projects that may have adverse consequences. This is the first gap between your message and the policy that needs to be addressed. In the immediate context, it is important to examine the Prime Minister’s repeated emphasis on self-sufficiency. This has merit. At a time when protectionism is increasing worldwide, countries are becoming more insular, and local industry needs all the support it can get, the principle is understandable. While the prime minister has talked about how this does not mean divorcing world supply chains, the government has not yet clarified, in detail, how this will be reconciled with the deliberate goal of reducing foreign imports and how other countries will be persuaded. so that they remain open to India, even when India closes its doors. This is the second gap between principle and policy that needs to be addressed.
But the most significant gap is between the prime minister’s optimism for the future, which is in fact a morale booster, and the grim economic reality that exists today. A variety of international agencies now predict a severe contraction in the Indian economy of 5% or more. The economic package announced by the government lacked the necessary fiscal measures to boost demand. And there is a general consensus that until demand increases, companies, supply chains, employment and tax revenues will not recover. And until that happens, India will not be able to reach its high growth potential. On the environment, on global interconnections and, most critically, on India’s economic future, the government must offer more clarity.